It always seems that each year flows by so quickly. Again, we stand at the threshold of a new year and again we ponder where the past year went. Some say that age is the reason the years pass so quickly. It could be that as we get older our focus becomes more on time (or the lack of) than what we considered before. An English proverb says, “Time and tide wait for no man.” We rediscover this truth at the end of each year.
With the beginning of each year, we should stop and reflect upon the year that has gone before us. We plan our resolutions for the new year but we should always look to the year before and make stronger resolutions. Learning from the past is the greatest wisdom for the future.
- What were the goals and aspirations that we sought for in 2018?
- How did we attain those goals?
- Did we work diligently to make those goals possible or did we give up in mid-February?
As we write down our resolutions for the coming year, we should also have a column for the challenges met and overcome in 2018. We need to see that we can succeed in making 2019 a great year because of what we could accomplish in 2018. If the accomplishments were few last year, our resolution for this next year will be to continue working on those same resolves.
Do not look at the previous year as a year of failures. Look upon the coming year as a time to learn from the past and grow from each challenge not met. “You can’t turn back the clock. But you can wind it up again.” (Bonnie Prudden) The New Year brings the opportunity to seek new direction and follow different paths. Each year should be a building block from the previous years. The resolve for the coming year is strengthened by the knowledge that we can accomplish what we seek if we but try. Sam Levenson said, “Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”
Every day and each New Year is a new page that we can write on. Never let the soiled pages of yesterday mar the purity of a new day and a new year. We can change our future by the actions taken today. The kind of person that I want to be will only be challenged by the kind of person I have failed to be.
- Are you satisfied with the kind of husband or wife you have been in the past year?
- Do you feel that you have grown as much as you can in your knowledge of the Bible?
- How do you measure yourself as a worker in the church?
- Can you do more?
No matter the kind of person that I have been in the past, I can be a better person today. When I put aside the things of the past and look for the things that are ahead, reaching for each new day as another opportunity to reach a new level, striving to do the best I can.
The apostle Paul shows us how to look at the New Year in Philippians 4:12-16. “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.”
Paul was not satisfied with his present accomplishments in life. He knew that he could do more and he sought that for his life. His motto was “PRESS ON!” In order for Paul to achieve his goals, he knew that he must keep going forward. He did not allow the past to hold him back but reached forth to those things that were ahead. His eyes were fixed forward with hope and expectation, not backwards with despair and regrets.
“Even though the outlook is bleak, the up-look is always bright.” The thing that made a difference in the life of Paul was his up-look. His goals were not of an earthly nature but on Heavenly matters. He recognized the need of taking care of the everyday affairs of life but these were all governed by the desires of the heavenly goal. Paul fulfilled the admonition of Christ to “seek first the kingdom of God.” We lose sight of what is really important when we lose sight of our spiritual goals.
Philippians 4:16 is the way that Paul could grow in the service of Christ. “Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” Paul built each New Year by the successes and failures of the previous year. The level that he attained the year before, he used the next year to grow even more. He walked by the same rule and was led by the same mind. As he built upon each year, he reached higher and higher goals.
The level that we have attained this past year will help us to build upon the coming year. As we build from year to year, after a while we begin to realize that we have grown quite a bit. The reward comes when we can look back and see how we have grown from the year’s past.