Here we are, at the start of another fresh year: our hearts caressing hope and perhaps guarded anticipation for the turning pages of an untold story. If your New Years Resolutions record is as remarkable as mine, you’ll be at least as experienced in stumble & surrender as progress & proficiency.
Nevertheless, there remains inherent value in the enlarging of our hearts & minds so that we remain active as both the co-author & the protagonist of the unwritten pages of our evolving story.
Goals are the links in the chain that connect activity to accomplishment. ~ Tom Ziglar
We are mistaken to dismiss New Year resolve & goal-setting as folly. However, it is equally foolish to set achievement-based goals exclusive of intrinsic values. In his book Today Matters, John Maxwell lists twelve commitments we should make today… and each day of our lives. Whilst audacious, Maxwell’s list of commitments provides us with inexhaustible opportunity to grow into a life of stability & favour, living present within each day: free from both condemnation of the past & worry for the future.
Just for today…
1. Just for today, I will choose and display the right attitudes.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
2. Just for today, I will determine and act on important priorities.
So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
3. Just for today, I will know and follow healthy guidelines.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
4. Just for today, I will communicate with and care for my family.
But those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith.
1 Timothy 5:8
5. Just for today, I will practice and develop good thinking.
Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honour you. She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.
6. Just for today, I will make and keep proper commitments.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers & sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
7. Just for today, I will earn and properly manage my finances.
Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth – except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers! People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.
There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver. Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children. We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us. And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing – like working for the wind. Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud – frustrated, discouraged, and angry.
Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
8. Just for today, I will deepen and live out my faith.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
9. Just for today, I will initiate and invest in solid relationships.
Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sings psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
10. Just for today, I will plan for and model generosity.
Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need. If you search for good, you will find favour; but if you search for evil, it will find you!
Trust in your money and down you go! But the godly flourish like leaves in spring.
11. Just for today, I will embrace and practice good values.
Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found.
Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
12. Just for today, I will seek and experience improvements.
So get rid of all evil behaviour.
Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
1 Peter 2:1-3
Yes, it’s a list painted in broad brushstrokes, expansive as the sky. No, it’s not definitive or measurable. It is, however, a resolute framework – just for today – upon which extrinsic ambitions will rest & build over a lifetime of being fashioned into the image of Christ… a sure foundation.
But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have,
we must wait patiently and confidently.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.
In whichever ways our lives are enlarged this year, let us extend the same measure of love & grace to ourselves – and those around us – as God does.