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New Year gives new opportunities for personal growth

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? Are they realistic? What are you undertaking that will enrich your life?

I heard about a woman who walked into her bathroom and found her husband weighing himself on the bathroom scales, sucking in his stomach. The woman thought to herself, “He thinks that he will weigh less by sucking in his stomach.”

So the woman rather sarcastically said, “That’s not going to help.”

The husband replied, “Sure it will. It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

Do you know what the top five most popular resolutions are? According to one magazine article, the fifth most popular was to pick up a new hobby; the fourth was to make more money; the third was to improve relationships; the second was to stop smoking; and the most popular New Year’s resolution? To lose weight.

As important as these are, just as important are commitments related to your spiritual life. We may want to lose weight physically, but we want to gain weight spiritually. What are the spiritual resolutions/commitments that will help you bulk up spiritually?

Commit to read God’s Word, the Bible, every day. It’s sad that in our day and time, with the Bible so readily available in our nation while many in the world would love to own a Bible, that so many people know so little about the Bible.

Is the phrase, “God helps those who help themselves in the Bible?” No, but a number of Americans think it is.

Jay Leno was doing a “man on the street” interview and asking about their knowledge of the Bible. He approached two college students, “Can you name one of the Ten Commandments?” One replied, “Freedom of speech?”

Leno said to the other, “Complete this sentence: ‘Let him who is without sin . . .’”

She replied, “Have a good time?”

Leno then turned to a young man and asked, “Who, according to the Bible, was eaten by a whale?” The confidant answer was “Pinocchio.”

God wants us to know His Word, so start reading it. I suggest that you commit to reading one chapter of Proverbs a day, while at the same time reading about the life of Jesus. Begin with the Gospel of Mark, the “Reader’s Digest” version of Jesus’ life.

Also, attend church weekly, not weakly. The local church is our spiritual headquarters and our home base for nurture, fellowship and encouragement. Support your local church with your presence, involvement, prayer, giving, and testimony. Support and encourage your pastor. He or she has a very difficult job.

In addition, learn to be content with where you are and with what you have. We can always wish for greener grass, but that kind of longing doesn’t help us enjoy today. Have faith, not fear. Worry proves we’re not trusting God and also robs us of the joy of today. Make today count because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow. Hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Make time for family. Life passes by way too quickly.

As time marches on, it seems we turn the calendar pages faster than we used to. Kids grow up, leave home and begin lives of their own. Life is too precious to take for granted and passes too quickly, so we must make every day count. Life is too fragile and uncertain, so we must trust God and depend on Him every day.

Finally, realize that life is not about us, but all about living for God. So live for Him in 2013. God has given us a great gift, a new year full of promise and potential, a blank slate of opportunity. How will we use it? How will we grow personally and spiritually this year? How will we serve and share ourselves this year? What do we hope to accomplish?

Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, Fayetteville. The church is located just past the department of drivers’ services. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at

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