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Most of us have grown cynical about New Year's resolutions. But if we are pressed we would admit that they could be good things. Have you ever kept one? If you have, you surely think that was a good thing. But why are they so difficult to keep? I believe the fundamental problem is our approach to resolutions. We make them, and try to keep them in the flesh.

Goals are great things for Christian Believers. But they need to spring from our relationship with Christ. I am intrigued by the title, Habits of The Heart, although I have not read the book. I recently looked it up on Amazon.com. I actually found two items, Habits of The Heart, individualism and commitment in American life, and Habits of The Heart, 365 daily exercises for living like Jesus. The latter has to be better.

But as most of us can attest, even godly goals can be approached in the flesh. It is better to begin with promises. Ask God to direct you to promises He wants you to focus on as you begin the year. You will have to spend serious time reading your Bible to do this right. Then, memorise the Scripture or Scriptures God is directing you to.

Finally, the most important factor in keeping a New Year's commitment is prayer. Don't just say, “I will do this,” or “I will do this if it kills me.” Pray, “Lord, I need You to produce this in my life.” The reminder on your mirror might read, “Father, glorify Your name as You do this in me.”

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/

http://watchinginprayer.blogspot.com/

http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

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Comment by Malva Birch on January 4, 2018 at 6:59am

May the Lord order your footsteps, Andrew.

Ps 37:23

Comment by David Young on January 1, 2018 at 3:16pm

Very impressive, Andrew. May God bless and use you according to His power at work within you.

Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on January 1, 2018 at 12:57pm

I say this to my own shame - I have a habit of approaching goals backward.  Even when I do take the time to pray for God's guidance and strength in meeting my goals, the problem is still that they're my goals.  I don't see Jesus operating that way.

After an incredibly successful day of ministry - healing and teaching - he spent a night in prayer discerning God's will for his next steps.  What he received from God was very different than what his closest followers were thinking.  They thought to capitalize on Jesus' success and continue ministering in Capernaum.  But Jesus, having sought God's will, knew that it was time to move on to other towns and villages (Mark 1:35-39).

When it was time to pick the twelve who would follow him most closely and form the basis for church after his ministry was over, Jesus didn't make a list of candidates, list pros and cons, rank the alternatives, etc.  He spent a night in prayer.  He ended up choosing people that probably not many of us would have chosen - mostly uneducated; a pair of brothers with a significant temper (James and John, "Sons of Thunder"); the one who would ultimately betray him.  He discerned God's will through prayer.

This was his pattern.  In John 5:16-30, Jesus says that he acts and judges based on what he sees and hears from the Father.  And as he knew that the time of his arrest and death was drawing near, he spent his last free evening in prayer in Gethsemane, receiving strength for what was to come.

This year I'm going to try something a little different.  When I do my goal-setting (an exercise I undertake every January), I'm going to review last year and then I'm going to pray for a week or two during my quiet times regarding goals for the year.  I won't have a completed list of goals by January 1 like I usually try to, but hopefully I'll be pursuing what God is calling me to pursue this year, based on his leading through prayer.  Then when I pray for God's strength and guidance during the year, I'll at least be praying about goals that didn't come strictly from my own priorities and desires.

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