New Year's Resolutions...everyone makes them, and you've probably spent a few seconds mulling over yours as well. There are so many: diet, prayer life, reading certain books, spending more time in scripture, going for a walk every day, and the list goes on and on. People come up with some pretty creative resolutions, but sadly, they often come up with just as creative excuses for why they should not or cannot keep those resolutions just a couple weeks later.
As I thought about all of the resolutions I could make, I was reminded of these three special verses. The first is Psalm 51:10 which says "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
The most important resolution we can make is to ask for and accept a clean heart from God. He knows all about how 2020 went for the world and for you personally, and He cares. He sees the mistakes that we all made in certain areas of our lives, and He wants to wipe that out for you so you can start 2021 with a clean slate. The only condition is that you ask Him to clean up your heart because He won't move in with Clorox and paper towels until you ask.
The second verse is also from Psalm 51, but this time we are looking at verse 12.
"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit."
Show of hands for who lost (or almost lost) their joy this past year?? Yup, that's what I thought. I'm pretty sure that most of us had at least a few joyless moments somewhere during 2020, and maybe a few more than a few. It was a rough year, and I know that I personally need my joy to be restored. Guess what! God can do that too! The Psalmist David would not have asked for it if he did not believe it was possible. What about you? Do you believe it is possible for God to restore your joy? I hope so, but even if you are wavering, ask God to help you believe. Trust that He can bring you joy again because of the promise and assurance we have of salvation. Trust that He will uphold you with His hand and His spirit.
Finally, the third verse is Psalm 51:15. Honestly, you should just read the entire chapter because it is packed full of amazing thoughts! Verse 15 says, " Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise."
I think that somewhere when we lost our joy, most of us saw a decrease in praise as well. It is difficult to praise when everywhere we turn seems gloomy and hopeless, but think of Paul and Silas. They sang in prison! Some of us may have felt like we were imprisoned in 2020, and there were days when the "stay at home" orders and quarantines made it feel like that, but we can still ask God to help us praise Him. He is still giving us blessings even in the midst of the chaos of this world. No matter what 2021 brings, ask God to help you open your lips and praise Him. Not just in private, but publicly to friends and family who may need some cheer, in your church and community, and on your social media feed. Praise could be the very thing someone needs to hear or read to help restore their joy.
So there it is - the most important New Year's Resolution.
-Ask God to give you a clean heart, restore your joy, and help you praise Him more.
It may sound daunting, but I promise it will be one of the best resolutions you make. Invite someone else to join you in this resolution, and you will be amazed at how God works in your lives this year. Ask Him to come into your heart every single day and change the way you see life. Let me encourage you to take one day at a time and start with the prayer below.
Dear God, 2020 was a hard year, and I lost some of my joy and a lot of my praise. I also made some mistakes that soiled my heart. Jesus, I believe in your sacrifice, and I want to claim your power in my life for this next year. Lord, please create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me in all my interactions with myself, others, and you this upcoming year. Restore my joyful spirit, and help my lips and fingers to give you praise. Thank you for loving me and always being willing and ready to help me. Let me be a blessing to someone this year. I give you all the glory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Written by Alissa Tanguay - host of the podcast "Carved to Beautify." She is a young professional music educator who has a passion for women understanding the freedom and love that God offers them.