New Year’s Resolutions

From Rev. Solomon Keal, BACS Pastor
January 6, 2020

Happy New Year! The story of the Lord’s birth at Christmas time brings a wonderful hope for better things to come. When Jesus began His public ministry, He began to teach people how to reach for those better things. And it begins with the process of repentance: “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14-15)

The word “repent” simply means “change our minds.” And the word “gospel” means “good news.” So essentially the Lord came into the world preaching: “You can change! Believe in that good news!”

Sometimes we can feel pretty stuck in our bad habits. But the Lord offers us hope that personal spiritual growth and positive change really are possible. The cycles of each new year and each new day are reminders of the fact that spiritually every moment is a chance for a new beginning in our lives.

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions aligns nicely with New Church teachings, because the Writings indicate that it is valuable to take time once or twice a year to focus on repentance:

“The practice of repentance is to not will evils, because they are against God. It involves examining yourselves once or twice a year, seeing your evils, confessing them before the Lord, begging for His help, no longer doing them, and launching into a new life. More and more as you do this and believe in the Lord, your sins are forgiven.” (True Christian Religion 621.6)

“People who, through repentance, have laid aside some evils that are sins, develop a resolve to believe in the Lord and to love their neighbor. They are held by the Lord in a resolution to abstain from many other things as well.” True Christian Religion 523)

“We acquire this resolution if we examine ourselves once or twice a year and repent of the evil that we discover in ourselves.” (Conjugial Love 529)

May the Lord’s blessings be with you in all of your New Year’s resolutions this year, and may your resolutions lead you to the joys of heaven.

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