We love “new” things. Many of us received a new thing or two for Christmas – some we asked for, some we didn’t. But new, nonetheless. No one else has ever touched it, read it, played it or written in it. Ours to do with however we desire.
We also love the idea of a new year. The prospect of 365 new days at our disposal. No one has yet to live them. Just the sound of it fosters hope. We plan for ministry possibilities, family gatherings, trips, time with friends, set new career goals, or set a new Bible study outline. The possibilities seem endless.
In honor of these approaching “new” days, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. For instance, we resolve to read through the Bible in a year, lose weight, be a better spouse, be a better parent, or be a better boss/employee. And even though we have many new commands or executive orders that we would like to issue to ourselves for this upcoming new year, Scripture reminds us of one command in particular that has been in place from the very beginning:
“And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to [God’s] commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:5-6
Love. Sometimes it’s so easy. Other times it's so very difficult. But God commands us to love. First and foremost as His children, we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). We also love one another as God has loved us (John 13:34) and love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Why? Because “He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
I propose that you try something new this year. Try adding a special phrase to each new year's resolutions. Add “because I love” after each one. For instance, “Read through the Bible in a year because I love being taught and amazed by God.” Centering our New Year’s resolutions around God’s command to love gives us a different perspective—one centered on God, His commands and His love for us.
When we line out our resolutions with God’s love at the forefront, we walk in obedience and hope. What better way to start out a new year? God’s abundant blessings to you in 2011.