It’s 2017 - at last!
For some, 2016 was a long string of disappointments and tragedies that just never seemed to end. (Just check out this infographic of all the celebrity deaths!) For others, it was the best years so far. And the rest of us fall somewhere in the middle - some highlights, some "lowlights."
Whether you greeted the new year with a cheer of relief or toasted another productive trip around the sun, everyone has probably thought about making some New Year’s resolutions for 2017. And if you’re like most people, you may have made that most classic resolution: to get healthy.
Being healthy is a great thing to strive for! In fact, there’s Biblical precedent for it. In I Corinthians, Paul explains that our bodies are “temples of the Holy Spirit.” We should keep our temples clean and tidy so that we can glorify God in whatever He may call us to do. In Romans 12, it says we should offer our bodies as a living sacrifice - that maintaining our temples and serving in this manner is a form of “true and proper worship.” Not only is getting healthy good for our physical vessels, but it glorifies God as well!
However, we shouldn’t only maintain the outside of our temples. God encourages us to keep our minds clear and focused on Him as well. We can do this by managing not only what we consume with our mouths, but also what we consume with our minds.
Matthew 6:22-23 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
Our world is full of negativity, and if we allow that to cloud our minds and burden our spirits, our hearts will soon feel heavy and full of darkness, too. In 1 Timothy 4:8, it says that godliness is better than fitness - a healthy body is good, but more important is a spirit that is connected with the Living God. Romans 12:2 tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.” And yes, while Jesus is known as the Friend of sinners (Luke 15:2, Matt. 11:19), and we should reach out to those who are lost in the darkness, we also need to remember to keep ourselves clean and refreshed, because too much “bad company” can corrupt “good character” (1 Cor. 15:33).
Perhaps an alternate or additional New Year’s resolution can be to take in less spiritual junk food, and enjoying healthier spiritual indulgences.
And of course, the main problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we’re always at a loss on how to make them stick! We can have all the good intentions in the world, but the Enemy - and sometimes God - may have other plans.
Here are three ways to help yourself be successful:
Tip 1: Be Practical! Don’t make a goal to lose 100 pounds before Valentine’s Day - that’s unhealthy and unrealistic, even for people who get surgery. Instead, strive for reachable gains, because the more success you create for yourself, the more likely you are to stay engaged.
Tip 2: Prioritize! If you’re like me, you may wonder how you can possibly arrange your overloaded schedule to fit in a two-hour workout - or even a 10-minute devotional. Before you cram more tasks in, take an honest look at what you do during the week and see if you can’t shorten some less important activities.
For example, I watch 2-3 hours of television before bed. If I just watched one less half-hour show and spent that time in prayer instead, I could be with the Lord and still have time for another episode of The Flash. Because in the end, would I really rather watch a rerun, or get a glimpse into God’s kingdom? Putting one’s life into better priority can really help make room for better things.
Tip 3: Pray! If you involve God in your process, anything is possible! (Matthew 19:26) And if you don’t pray about it… well, you’re not taking advantage of the opportunity to have God’s help in your life. And that just boils down to self-sabotage.
Whatever your resolutions may be, I hope you take the time to involve God in your plans for 2017. Because having God’s helping hand in your life can be the difference between the best year ever - and a repeat of the historical catastrophe of 2016. Which opportunity will you choose to take?
Annie M. Pasquinelli
Worship & Media Director
Riviera Baptist Church