Clergy Corner: New Year – new you!

■ SUSAN BECKETT / Contributed

You probably know “The List” by now: Eat better. Lose weight. Save more and quit smoking. We yawn and think – here we go again. It’s the same old New Year’s resolutions that roll around each year! But they do beat the alternatives: Rob a bank. Steal a car. Commit identity theft. Get drunk.
You’re probably thinking, geez, where is she going with this? Well, I’m that ever-hopeful person who thinks that just maybe this year, things can really be different. Perhaps we can come up with some type of blueprint for 2019 that will make a difference in our lives. At least we can give it a shot.
Our month of January is named after the Latin word for door (ianua), since January is the open door to the rest of the year. January gives us an opportunity for fresh starts. Apparently people the world over have had a desire for new beginnings for a very long time! Charles Lamb says that “New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday!” I like that.
But if we’re going to start with a clean slate this year and truly have a better 2019, we are going to have to change some of our thinking. As Frank Outlaw so well put it: “Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become actions. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become character. Watch your character, for it will become you destiny.”
Proverbs 4:23 also gives us this caution: “With all watchfulness guard your heart: For out of it flow the actions of life.” My favorite translation of that verse says: “Guard your heart more than any treasure, for it is the source of all life.” Our hearts really are treasures and according to the Bible, our heart represents our mind, our emotions, and our will. That’s pretty much who we are, isn’t it? And who we are should be a treasure.
So what’s in your heart? Well, what’s coming out of your mouth? Listen to yourself speak and you will know what’s in your heart. Matthew 12:34 tells us, “… out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Another translation says, “For what fills the heart will rise to the lips.”
So how do we change our thinking if it’s constantly cynical, pessimistic or negative; because those people shouldn’t be surprised that their days can tend to be negative and discouraging as well.
First and foremost we need to walk out of past hurts and offenses and any bitterness we are holding onto. Isaiah 43:18-19 gives us this advice: “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new . . .” If you want that “something new” you have to more forward and consciously let go of past hurts and pains.
It always amazes me when people harbor ill feelings towards another person; or when someone “nurses” (strives to keep healthy) a grudge. Drop it and move on. Resolve that in 2019 you are going to have a true heart makeover. Take full advantage of ianua (January) the new door month. Tightly slam shut 2018 if it wasn’t your best year and resolve in your heart that this year is going to be different. This year God will be first in your life; this year forgiveness will be easily given to those around you; this year your thoughts will be positive, hopeful and constructive so come this time next year you will be a better person!
“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul, and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man make New Year’s resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” (Gilbert Chesterton)

Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet. For more information, you can visit them at

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