November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 3:12–14 (NIV)
The new year is a hopeful time, because it means new possibilities, adventures, ideas, second chances, and big dreams. People typically express these hopes and possibilities through New Year’s resolutions!
Here are the top ten resolutions people make!
As I looked at these, I realized most of them are about looking better, feeling better, or living longer. They seem to stem from something we’re unhappy with from the previous year. So, I wondered if God revealed a great resolution to anyone in the Bible—it turns out He did in today’s verse!
The apostle Paul started out by saying, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal . . .” Think about that statement for a second. Doesn’t that kind of feel like why people make resolutions? Paul hasn’t achieved everything he wants in life, but he resolves to do two things:
Many of us get stuck in the past, trapped in our past failures, mistakes, and sins so much so that we become spiritually paralyzed and unable to live productively for God. Paul is telling us we can turn our past sins and failures over to God and start “straining toward what is ahead.” You see, our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in watching God pick us up every time we fall and using our failure for His glory; redeeming our shortcomings and transgressions for His good purposes!
Our top priority must always be to “press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” In Philippians 1:21 (NIV), Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul’s number one priority was living His life for Christ Jesus! He was running straight toward that goal, and he wasn’t going to let anything distract him from it.
So, as you look to the new year, what are your priorities? Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 (NIV), “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” Draw closer to God through worship, spend time with Him in prayer, and seek His guidance for your life by reading His Word and spending time in fellowship with other believers.
If you’re considering resolutions for the new year, here are two suggestions:
As we embark on the journey of a new year, let’s resolve ahead of time to press on toward the calling of God in our lives!
Pause: How can you press forward into the new year after all that has happened this year, resolving to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you?
Practice: Write out a biblical resolution to engage in the Word, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines.
Pray: Father, as I enter this new season, I pray the words of the apostle Paul. I pray You would help me press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I pray that by Your Spirit I would strain toward what is ahead and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.