An Exercise in Faith
by Rev. Tom Gray
New Years’ resolutions are often seen as exercises in futility. We plan things like losing weight, exercising more, or giving up on bad habits, only to fall flat in failure six weeks into the plan. That is what usually seems to happen.
But what lies behind such resolutions is truly wonderful for us, even if we fail at one or more of them. That foundational theme is the hope that life can always be improved. I’d hate to become so cynical about my failed resolutions that I gave up on the whole thing. I’d much rather encourage hope than sink into cynicism.
This is a big part of what faith is. We seek to serve God faithfully. If we fail at any point, we ask forgiveness in prayer and move on. We believe that the Lord hears our prayers and, bit by bit, strengthens us in faithfulness.
This kind of spiritual growth can’t usually be evaluated in one year as success or failure. When I look back on my life—over years and decades rather than just twelve months—I see progress. Spiritual growth is measured in a lifetime. So, I still make new goals, knowing that there will be failures and successes. In all this, I’m more interested in seeking what God will do than in what I can accomplish alone.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16)