Title: "Resolutions for the Christian Life"
Date: 1 January 2017
Place: Clinton Presbyterian Church (Clinton, NJ)
Theme: We often use the new year as moment to make new commitments - resolutions - for the year ahead. We often make resolutions that relate to our health, our jobs, our families, our hobbies...all good things. But what we often forget to do is make resolutions to strengthen our Christian life. So, in this sermon I make my own Christian resolutions for my own life, with the hope that others may be inspired to make their own. This is probably the most introspective and personally honest sermon that I have ever given.
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New Years Day is a time when we hear a lot about resolutions. And most of us make – and soon break – them. Some of us want to lose weight. Travel. Read a few more books. Some want to spend more time with the family, take up yoga, or eat healthier. Whatever yours are, I wish you luck!
You know, I like our New Testament reading for this morning because it is really appropriate for New Years. It likens the journey of faith to a race, and faithful people to athletes. If a runner wants to win a race, he or she will need to make a few resolutions: the runner will need to train really hard, cut some bad stuff out of their life, be disciplined, be motivated, be willing to take advice from coaches.
In the same way, Scripture tells that if we really want to be followers of Christ, we’re going to have to train. We’re going to have to make some resolutions - some changes, some goals – in our lives. Just like how we can’t simply lace up some running shoes today and expect to win the Boston Marathon, we can’t expect to keep on doing what we have been doing in our faith life and expect to become better Christians.
And so this New Years I decided to jot down a few resolutions for my Christian life. And, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to use our time this morning to share my resolutions with you. I do this because maybe you’ll be inspired by some of my resolutions and seek to make them your own.
Those are my resolutions.
I know what some of you are thinking: “well, Ian, your job revolves around religion…so you’ve got the time and space to do all this stuff…but I don’t have the space in my life to do a lot of new religious stuff.”
To that I say, you’re right. I am in a unique position when it comes to the Christian faith. But all of us have the potential to grow in our faith. If our faith is the most important thing in our life – and it should be – then we should make sure that it is constantly getting stronger.
So here’s what I recommend: start with just two resolutions: one related to a spiritual discipline and another related to Christian service.
Really, I’d encourage you to do this. And speak to Tracey or I if you need help coming up with a plan to make your resolution a sustainable reality – that’s what we are here for.
A new year is, in many ways, an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s a clean slate. We don’t know what this year holds for the world, but we can shape our own lives and our own faith. Let’s make it a good year.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.