There’s nothing quite like the brash, enthusiastic confidence you used to have when making New Year’s Resolutions.
It’s something about the freshness of the year, the new start that makes you feel like you can do absolutely anything. Lose 30 pounds? No problem! Read 52 books in a year? Absolutely!
Maybe it’s because we’ve finally admitted to ourselves that New Year’s Resolutions aren’t foolproof, or maybe it’s because we’ve been traumatized by 2020, but this year is different. We don’t have too many grand plans or high hopes this time around. We’re just happy to be alive.
So this year, instead of a resolution, how about a covenant?
That’s what we walk in on in Deuteronomy 29 – a covenant being renewed between God and His people, the Israelites. After last chapter’s blunt reminder of the blessings or curses to be had based on their obedience, the Israelites gather to formally promise to obey God.
Whether they do or don’t remains to be read, but what about you and me?
A New Year’s Promise
Why don’t we make a covenant to God this year? For real – let’s do this, let’s go all out!
First, spend some time reminiscing about God.
Think about who He is – loving, powerful, and merciful.
Think about everything He’s done for you in 2020 – helping you figure out remote work or remote school, keeping you from getting COVID when you should have gotten it, healing you from COVID if you did get it.
Think about what He’s done for you in years past! Prayers He answered, tears He dried, answers He provided. Let the thoughts of His goodness wash over you.
Next, take an honest look at yourself. Does your heart reflect the love and the faith due the God you just described? Does your life show how deeply you believe in Him? Does it show in the time you spend with Him, the way you talk about Him?
And finally, make God a promise. Promise to make a change. Promise to leave the apathy about Him, the obligatory prayers, and the devotion speed reading in 2020. Promise to give Him the only thing He’s asked for all along – your heart.
The exact details of your New Year’s covenant are between you and God, but it will require effort. Effort to surrender. Effort to try. Effort to have faith that this is worth it.
Sometimes that effort is hard to muster, and God knows this. For those of us likely to get as lazy about our covenants as we do our resolutions (*hand raised emoji*), He gives a straightforward warning in verse 19: “When such a person…[thinks] ‘I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way’, they will bring disaster on…the land.”
In other words, we can’t bring ourselves safely through 2021 alone. We need Jesus in our lives. But we have to firmly and honestly choose Him. It’s a choice that’ll determine whether we’ll look back on the disaster we caused ourselves or the joy God gave to us.
“I want to begin a new journey with you.”
We may not know what is coming for us in 2021. We don’t know what trials, what joys, what losses and what accomplishments we’ll see in the next twelve months.
But we know one thing for sure: we will make it through it all and be better for it if we do it with Jesus.
And that is exactly what He wants for us.
Jesus is ready. His arms are open. His plans for you are made. All He requires is a decision, made with faith no bigger than a mustard seed.
What is your New Year’s promise to God?
What do you think? Have you made a covenant with Jesus this year?