The new year will be here before we know it. How is 2022 looking for you up ahead?
Traditionally we make resolutions or promises in the hope that, in some way, we might improve ourselves in the new year. I don’t know about you, but I usually have mixed results with those. Take losing weight, for example – I think a common vow among us, right? Even when I lose a few pounds as I’d hoped, somehow I manage to gain them back.
Such are new-year pledges.
This coming year, I invite you to join me in receiving promises, namely some very precious vows that Jesus has made toward us. The Bible is filled with promises from God. Here are just five that I’m personally embracing from the Gospels.
The Promise of Acceptance
In John 6:37 (CSB), Jesus says, “Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.”
In my work, I see a multitude of people across the country looking for help in building authentic relationships. Indeed, I spent a lifetime myself feeling like I never really fit in with any group I was in.
Jesus never turned away anyone who sought him out. Never! His invitation is simply to come to him as we are. When we accept, we find him waiting with open arms.
The Promise of Friendship
I found this promise in John 15:14-15 (CSB): “You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore, because the servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father.”
I have that personality type that makes many acquaintances but few close friends. It’s just the way I’m hard-wired. The friends I do make, though, are tight and for life. May I also confess that my friends are far better at the relationship than I am – but I’m learning!
I continue to be astounded that the Creator of the universe wants to be a friend of mine. Moreover, he made that relationship possible by offering up his own life for me. And for everyone!
When you come to Jesus, he automatically moves your name into the “friend” column and shares all things with you. Jesus is a friend tight and for life.
The Promise of Revelation
“The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.,” Jesus says in John 14:21 (CSB), “And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
Hopefully our new-year vows involve some kind of personal growth. Maybe taking a class or acquiring a new skill.
Don’t miss out on getting to know Jesus. Not simply learning theology or memorizing Scripture, as good as those things are. But knowing Jesus. Who he is. What he’s about. His greatest desires and highest ambitions. What makes him laugh and what makes him cry.
What can be better than to know, with clarity, the heart of the Savior of the world?!
The Promise of Joy
In John 15:9-11 (CSB), we read, “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
“Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!” are the traditional holiday greetings. But where merriment and happiness depend on how things are going around us – from personal relationships to the national economy – Jesus promises something deeper and richer.
Joy comes from within – like knowing that we are deeply loved and highly treasured, and that in everything resides hope because all things are possible.
The Promise of Life
The fifth promise comes from Matthew 16:24-25 (CSB), where Jesus tells us, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For everyone who wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.”
What do you plan to pursue in 2022? Financial success? A better job? A certain relationship? Any of those are understandable and worthy of effort. At the same time, they are all tied to this world and limited in their ability to offer anything lasting.
In contrast, when we pursue the Giver of all good things, we obtain all good things, most prominently a new Way of life. Eternal life, in Greek, is Zoe, and in itself is a divine power to bring joy from despair, hope from desperation, life from death. Zoe is God’s transformative power to make all things new in this world and in the world to come.
What Is Your Answer?
As with all things in life, there is action to take, what we must ourselves do to possess the promises of Jesus. That is, to respond to the invitation. God has already made all the preparations, and Jesus has extended his hand.
What’s left is to say, “Yes,” to the gift, come to Jesus, and walk in newness of life.
That seems, to me, to be the most worthy resolution for the new year. And one we can make any time of the year.