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Begin the new year by putting God first

Friday 6 January 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Church Talk, Features

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Begin the new year  by putting God first
Pastor Eric Toleafoa says ask God to help you grow closer to Him in the coming months – and to show you how to do that. Picture: Biblword/23010511

The encouragement for each of us as we begin this new year is to be sure of your commitment to God, writes Pastor Eric Toleafoa from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Just recently, I asked some friends, what their goals were for the New Year.

One of them said, “I’m over planning any new year resolutions because I know I am not able to keep them, I end up frustrated and disappointed. So, I thought why do I bother when I never end up achieving it anyway”.

Many of us put plans together and most of the time we fail to see them through. We end up giving up and going back to being satisfied with the status quo and not allowing for positive improvements to take place.

The Apostle Paul said, “Not that I have … already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12).

The encouragement here is for us to press on and not to give up so easily! After all, the reason for making new year resolutions i.e. to stop drinking, stop smoking, exercise more, be positive, have a healthy lifestyle, plus other personal improvement areas is because people genuinely want to live better lives, to make a difference, and that can be a good thing … the alternative to stay the way you are and doing the same things means you deprive yourself of the necessary growth that each of us need.

But there is a hidden element involved here. Yes, we want our lives to be different and so does God! He does not want you to be the same person a year from now that you are today. He wants to change you from within, taking away the things that are not right and filling you with things that will help you to grow and make a difference, with love, compassion, patience, to where you become a person of peace for others. The Apostle Paul said, “Not that I have…already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12).

Perhaps during the past year, we did not allow God to be first in all things of life. Maybe we have become complacent toward Him or lack the desire for a personal relationship with Him as He requires of us. We must remember that God loves us and as Psalm 145:18 explains, He is near to all who call upon Him.

So as we humbly seek God’s face in the new year, we must call out to Him as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.” Then in Psalm 51:10 he writes this prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The encouragement for each of us as we begin this new year is to be sure of your commitment to God. Then ask Him to help you grow closer to Him in the coming months – and to show you how to do that. Do not be satisfied to being the same person you have always been but put God first and learn to walk with Him every day.

Enjoy the weekend with your families and friends, keep safe, but most of all be encouraged!