The beginning of a new year means time for change.
Time to exercise more or eat better. Time to save money and become more financially stable. Time to be happier and decrease stress in your life.
January is a good month for change. Just out of all the holiday craziness, you feel like you can finally get that fresh start. Paychecks start coming into your bank account again, instead of going directly to the toy store, Christmas mall sales or last-minute Amazon gifts, and tax returns are right around the corner. You have a whole year ahead of you to make and keep great plans.
January is a good month for change. You evaluate yourself and your life over the past year, looking at all the toxic things you can eliminate in the new year. Whether that be a relationship or a habit, you can easily spot what needs to go.
January is a good month for change. The newness makes it easy to feel motivated to make adjustments. That’s the key to a New Year’s resolution — motivation. However, only 8% of people will keep their new year’s resolution and successfully achieve it. Eight percent.
So I’m here to tell you: Yes, January is a good month for change, but so is February.
The same goes for April, July, October, and all 12 months of the year. It doesn’t matter when you start your resolution, it only matters that you start it.
The idea of a New Year’s resolution is a mental construct that tells us we can only change at the beginning of each year. For some reason, a different digit at the end of our dated notes creates some type of acceptance within ourselves that we are finally allowed to be different too. If we just make it to the end of the year, we can start anew when the ’17 turns to ’18.
But dear friend, let me share with you the one resolution that is waiting for you with arms wide open at any time of the year — Jesus.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
He doesn’t only come around during the month of January, ready with forgiveness and grace and love when do a personality and life overhaul. He is always here and always good.
In the fall of 2015, I decided to attend college five hours away from my hometown. Looking back I can see it was all the Lord’s great plan, but in the moment I had no idea what the heck I was thinking. The first (and only time) I went to church camp, I bawled like a baby being away from everything I had known…for a week. What in the world made me think I could live five hours away??
The first half of the semester was extremely difficult. I would hide my emotions from my roommates, friends and family, pretending this school I talked nonstop about two months earlier was everything I had dreamed it would be. In reality, it was not. It was hard for me to keep my mind busy, so it was always wandering what life was like at home. Were my friends coming home for the weekend? Did my family all get together and have dinner that night? I was so lonely on a campus of 30,000 people.
Trying to get involved, I began going to a campus ministry every now and then. I had never been involved in a group of people my own age at church, so as I experienced a new beginning (wink wink), I decided to change things up and go for it. Never did I imagine I would meet such kind, weird, Jesus-loving people. From the moment I walked in, they made me feel so welcome, and I always noticed they were a little different. They were such a light for God and His word, and you could tell by talking to them even just once. I wanted to be like them, but more importantly, I wanted to know more about Who made them this way.
Towards the end of the semester, I decided it wasn’t wise for me to continue my college career there, and I made the decision to transfer to a different university. Several times I thought to myself, “I’ll just start this whole ‘Jesus’ thing when I get back home, after the new year.”
But that was not the plan He had for me.
It was the last worship service of the semester at the campus ministry, and although the songs were not different, the room looked the same, and the message had a similar theme to ones I’d heard, my heart was completely torn open for God. He revealed to me in that moment that no matter where I go or what I do, He’ll be there with me — not beside me, but within me.
“Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
The apostle Paul asks the Corinthians this, but I want to ask it to you as well.
If you are a follower of Christ, do you realize that Jesus Christ dwells in you, now and forever?
This is His constant resolution for you.
And if you are not a follower of Christ, do you realize how much He wants you to be?
Whether you choose to do that now, next month or even next year, He wants you. And He’d much rather you do it today than wait for some pre-planned time to start fresh.
Friends, He wants you to understand that His presence is always present —yesterday, today and forever.