People have begun their preparations for the new year, buying new agendas, making new resolutions, planning to make it a better year than the one before. We can't help ourselves as we desire to be better, to do better. We have the right idea as we make efforts to become organized, set goals, determining new priorities, but Jesus' words come to mind: "The spirit is willing but the body is weak."
We know that in most cases we fail to keep our resolutions and it is often a fault of our motivation. When our motivation is wrong then our determination can be rather weak as well. Remember what James said, "You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures". We often fail because what we attempt to do only has the motivation of self but when you do things for the benefit of others we tend to have greater determination.
As followers of Jesus we tend to seek greater blessings at this time as well. We make greater covenants with God, promising to be more Christ-centered, desiring to receive more from God. This brings to mind Psalm 67 which starts with:
"May God be gracious to us and bless us,
and make his face shine upon us ..."
That's where many of us are, constantly seeking greater blessings from God. We may not say it and we may not even see it in ourselves but check your prayers and your thinking and see if you detect any of it in you. There is nothing wrong with this prayer but the question is why are you asking for it? What is your motivation? What do you think is the purpose of God's blessing? The psalmist continues:
"... that your ways may be known on the earth,
your salvation among all nations."
The last thing we want to do as God's nation is become selfish and self-centered as was the Israelite nation. Our salvation is bigger than ourselves as is God's blessings. We are intended to be advertising for God in our words, actions, attitudes, generosity and the sharing of God's great blessings. We act like a great dam, selfishly holding in all the blessings for ourselves but we are intended to be as free flowing as the mighty Saint Lawrence river. God cannot be glorified among the nations and a lost people cannot discover his incredible love.
If we are looking for change in ourselves that is great but let's make it a positive change that benefits the nations. Let's ask God to change our perspective, to shift our thinking, to improve our vision so that we no longer see ourselves at the center of the universe but instead as a member of God's family with the mission of sharing God's blessings. We should be the most generous people on the planet; generous with time, talent, possession, friendship. As we seek God's blessings for this New Year let us check our attitude and gain the perspective that we are the vessels of God's blessings and glory to the World. May the New Year see the nations bend their knees to Jesus, not because they are forced but because they are convinced of God's love.