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Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Background information on Ruth
(The story is found in the short book of Ruth.) Elimelech and his wife Naomi and their two sons moved to Moab when there was a famine in Israel. Elimilech later died. About ten years after the two sons had married Moabitish women, the sons also died. Naomi, who decided to return to Israel, told her two daughters-in-law to go back to their families and their gods. Ruth adamantly refused to leave Naomi. She even affirmed that Naomi's God would be her God. When they came to Bethlehem, Ruth went to glean in the barley fields, some of which happened to belong to Boaz. Boaz, a relative of Elimelech, saw all the good that Ruth had done for Naomi. Her steadfastness, loyalty, and devotion impressed him. He married her. She became the great-grandmother to King David, from whose line Jesus descended.

New Year's Resolutions

  • Many of us make New Year's Resolutions. Often they involve dropping bad habits and starting good ones. Many of us are motivated and eager at first, but then lose track of our resolutions as the year progresses. Yet, many of these resolutions are really important. So this year, let's keep them!
  • Find some way that will work for you to keep your resolutions in your thought throughout the year. You could get a notebook, a journal, a daily planner, or a computer file to write down your resolutions. You could even record them on a tape or CD. You need to be able to refer to your resolutions easily and often.
  • Here are three resolutions patterned after Ruth to consider for this year:

As Ruth left the old for the new, so can you:

  • Make the title of one of your resolutions -- "Leave the Old for the New."
    • Decide what "old" things and what "old" attitudes you can leave behind for good.
      • Things could be clothes, memorabilia from 1st grade, broken figurines or trophies that you keep meaning to fix, tired looking posters….
      • Attitudes could be complaining, whining, criticizing, judging, mistrusting, anger, resentment, fear, worry, willfulness, egotism….
    • You can get rid of old things by donating them to several different organizations or by giving them to friends or people from church or your neighborhood, to people who need them. You can also throw things away. It feels great!
    • You get rid of old/bad attitudes by stifling them, not letting them take control of you, and then replacing them with good, pure, and loving attitudes and qualities:
      • Rather than retorting in anger, you can pause, be patient, and respond with love.
      • Rather than complaining to your parents, you can express gratitude for what they have done for you.
      • Rather than showing off, you can notice what is good in others and compliment them.
      • Rather than getting frustrated, you can relax and know that God is working out His purpose through you.
  • When you get rid of old stuff, old ways of doing things, old attitudes, you've made room for new ideas, things, thoughts, attitudes, and blessings.

As Ruth committed herself to worshipping and serving God, so can you:

  • Let's make another resolution -- "Put God First."
    • Decide to put God first. That's the biggest step in this resolution. We may think that God is already first in our lives. But we need to be really sure and clear about this.
      • Examine how much time you spend listening to God, studying the Bible, and praying.
      • Set aside 30 minutes in the morning before you go to school to pray, read the Bible, and listen to God.
      • Listen to God throughout the day.
      • Take a break during the day and open the Bible or remember a favorite verse or story. You could write it down each morning and bring it with you to school or work.
      • Set aside 30 minutes before you go to bed to do the same.
  • Spending time on God will do more for you than anything else. If you read the story of Ruth, you'll see that she was rewarded because she put God first. She didn't serve God so that she could get blessings; she served God because she was compelled, inspired, and wanted to serve God. The reward was a consequence.

As Ruth showed devotion and loyalty, so can you:

  • The third resolution, "Be Loyal," relates to where our loyalties lie -- to family, friends, God. Who needs us most?
    • Make a commitment to be loyal to your friends, family, and God. See if there are others who need your loyalty and steadfastness. There are times when they will need you to stand by them, even if they don't tell you they need you.
    • People and things may tempt you to betray your family, friends, beliefs, integrity, and God. Be watchful and strong.
    • Express your loyalty and devotion by:
      • Attending their sports games, plays, dance performances, music recitals, company functions;
      • Listening to them talk, calling them on the phone, emailing them;
      • Helping them with work they have to do and helping them sort through problems;
      • Telling them you stand behind and beside them and expressing your appreciation for all they do and all they are;
      • Standing firm in your beliefs, not compromising your integrity, not allowing others to make you lose faith in God.
  • Track your progress once a month at the minimum. Write down your successes and take note of what you need to do to reach your goals and achieve your resolutions.

As we resolve to meet our goals -- leave the old for the new, put God first, express loyalty, and any others we set for ourselves -- we can enjoy a wonderful sense of newness. Each day is a new day, complete with new opportunities for growth.