We are nearing the end of January, and by now many people have abandoned their New Year's resolutions. Good intentions have been overwhelmed with the realities of life or frailties of the flesh. Exercise programs have slowed, diets are only a memory, and devotional lives are no better than they were at the end of last year.
IF THIS IS YOU...
If this is your experience, I want to encourage you today. You may have failed, but you are not defeated. Let me state it again, perhaps more accurately: You are not defeated IF you do not quit.
For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again...
— Proverbs 24:16
Even the righteous fall, but the difference is they do not stay down. They will not quit because they understand the reality of God's grace and desire to be all He has called them to be. The key to ultimate victory is never giving up. Victory does not come without effort, and significant victory requires significant effort. In any endeavor, perseverance is essential. Falling or failing is never fun, but it does not signal ultimate defeat.
Thomas Edison echoes Proverbs in describing his failed attempts to invent a working light bulb.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t
work... Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain
way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
Even if you have failed to keep the momentum of your New Year's resolutions, here are five steps to get you up and started again:
Repent. If necessary, repent of sin. Don’t make excuses, shift blame, or pretend things are different than they are. Every failed resolution may not be a situation that calls for repentance, but when it does, own it and repent.
Re-evaluate. Is this something you really want to do? Just how important is it? Is it worth the major effort and strong commitment? Does the value make it worth the investment? Re-evaluate the resolution and decide if this really is important.
Re-prioritize. It is impossible to have 17 top priorities in life - that is a recipe for disaster. Decide on one or two priorities that are the most important, and focus on those.
Re-orient. A contributing factor to our failure may be that we aren't looking at the big picture. For example, in order to have a 30-minute morning devotional, it is necessary to re-orient our lives by going to bed earlier so we can wake up earlier. We can train ourselves to arise at any time, fully rested, but not without making some adjustments elsewhere.
Refuse. Absolutely refuse quitting. “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (Prov. 24:16). It took over 10,000 attempts, but we DO have light bulbs!
by Jimmy Aycock