New Year’s Resolutions
Traditionally, January First is associated with New Year’s resolutions. With so many people, however, the second week of the month, or even the second day, finds their good intentions broken and discarded, perhaps even forgotten, as they slip back into their former ways again. This may be the reason why some have not made any list of resolutions for 1956.
Having introduced the subject to our young readers, however, let us consider a few thoughts along this line. Do you not agree that, in your own case, a new resolution which would produce a more godly, sanctified Christian life might be both desirable and necessary? In our present way of living, the monotonous repetition of events, day after day, tends toward carelessness and laxity in spiritual things, so that we need periodically to check up on ourselves.
With some who are newly saved, the joy of the heart and the love for the Saviour have not been strong enough to conquer all the sinful practices of life, which are so grieving to the Lord. Others, with the passing of time, may have gone back to some of the old habits which had been forsaken at conversion. The best time to renounce these evils is right now! If the heart is sincere and determined, the Lord will provide the grace and strength that are needed to gain victory.
If you have been neglecting the daily reading of your Bible, this would be an ideal opportunity to remedy that fault. Why not lay out for yourself a plan for reading consecutively, within the year, the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, to give you a broad view of the whole Word of God? This could be done by reading three or four chapters each day, requiring only five or ten minutes of your time. A young Christian from Toronto once read through his Bible in twenty-four days, mostly while riding the street cars to and from work, and during his noon hours. We would urge you, as well, to follow the helpful advice which appears month by month in the Bible Study section of this magazine. Become a careful student of the Word of God, so that you may grow and develop in the knowledge of the Truth.
Surely every one of us should resolve to spend more time in private prayer. In doing so, have upon the heart certain particular persons, certain definite problems, making repeated and earnest petitions to the Throne of Grace. Great will be the rejoicing when the Lord sends answers of peace. The habit of prayer is one that grows as the practice is continued, so that one becomes very much at home in the presence of the Lord and desires more and more to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.
Furthermore, each one of us may well ask, “During the coming year, what am I going to do for the Master?” As we remember that we have been saved so that we might be witnesses for Him we will be aroused to our responsibility and will seek His mind and guidances as to our service. “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” is the question not only of the newly converted Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:6), but of every one who has been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.
Not every one has been fitted and called to assume an active public part, but we should seek to discover the gifts that have been given to us by the Risen Head of the Church. The young believer of today, like Timothy of old, is exhorted, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee.” Whatever our talents, we should put them to good use for the Master, and not bury them in the earth, as did the unprofitable servant of Matthew 25.
Even the least gifted could follow the plan of one child of God who determined to speak to someone every day about the Lord Jesus Christ. Personal witnessing will make us happy in our own souls and will also keep us separated from worldly companions and harmful associates.
Say, when did you last give out a Gospel tract ? Even if you shrink from speaking to people about your Saviour, you could hand someone a leaflet or booklet that would tell the message for you. One man, lacking the courage to give out his tracts on the busy street corner, put them into envelopes and so was able to get the silent witnesses into the hands of curious passers-by.
A Scottish youth, while crating machinery, slipped a Gospel tract under the lid, with the prayer that it might be used of the Lord. The box, after crossing the Atlantic, was delivered to a Nova Scotia coal mine where the equipment was unpacked. The tract fell unnoticed to the floor and was trampled underfoot. The precious seed was not dead! Some hours later, a passing workman picked up the soiled piece of paper. As he read it, his mind went back to his Christian father, who had been dead for over twenty years, and he recalled the Gospel lessons learned at his knee. As a result, the miner was led to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and he became a happy and devoted child of God.
If we scatter the seed faithfully, the Lord will give the increase, so that there will be a fruitful harvest for His glory and our eternal blessing. “Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord” (1 Chronicles 29:5)?
Undoubtedly, the best resolution that we could make for 1956 would be to yield ourselves unreservedly unto the Lord, letting Him have first place in our heart’s affections. If we do so, He will control every phase of our Christian living; He will guide and direct us into the field of service that will be most for His glory. Moreover, our hearts will be made glad in the confidence that His purpose in saving us is being fulfilled with increasing measure; that is, that we should be to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12).
In conclusion, let us prayerfully meditate upon the words of Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”