From T.M. Schoewe
Did you make some New Year resolutions for 2014? Do you know that most resolutions do not make it past January?
New Year resolutions are not new! We can trace them back to the ancient Babylonians. Did you know the Romans made making resolutions into a virtue and even gave us this month called January, named after Janus who was their “god of new beginnings” — the two-faced god, with one face looking ahead to the future and the other looking back to the past. The Greeks supposedly don’t have an equivalent. But the Greeks did believe that only the gods were in complete control and that it was wrong for man to make resolutions and to think these things could be achieved without the their help. If you didn’t acknowledge that the gods were in control you would bring down some punishment on yourself, like being turned into some bug or spider or be fated to killing your father or marrying your mother.
In America we find the Pilgrims and Puritans promoting the idea of New Year resolutions. However, even the Rev. Jonathan Edwards admits in trying to keep them he found himself quite deceitful. Ben Franklin promoted 13 virtues, concentrating on one each week, which meant covering them 4 times a year. In the end, he confessed he was more full of faults than he ever imagined. But Franklin never gave up and was able to influence many people down through the years in an interesting way. One of Franklin’s followers, a fellow named Orion Clemens who published a Missouri newspaper, used to share some of Franklin’s thoughts every chance he got with his younger brother Sam. Sam, who is better known to us as “Mark Twain,” in turn urged his readers to use New Year’s “to make your regular good resolutions,” and then added “next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
When we think about making New Year resolutions, perhaps we do so in the context of our memories. Most of us have lots of memories and hopes and perhaps some regrets we wish we could turn around. And like everyone else, we’d like to be able to be selective in our total recall of things and be able to let the bad go. Though we may struggle and find it tough to let some things go, we should find solace in knowing what the Word says and remember God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.? (Romans 8:28)
There is no better time for fresh starts than with each new day of this New Year. It is time to get rid of some of the trash in our brains and the debris that really clutters up our service to the Lord and robs us of the joy of being sons and daughters of our Lord God! Why don’t we start each day by remembering we are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!
We also have a great teacher or mentor to help us. He was once called Saul of Tarsus whose business was to hunt down and even kill Christians. After meeting the Lord on the road to Damascus he later wrote as hard it was to say and forget, “one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the mark to win the prize which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
Care to join Him? Why not try?