Philippians 4 verses 10 – 13

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Verse 13)

Dear friends,

Every January people start the New Year with the best of intentions as they make their resolutions and genuinely intend to change their lives for the better in some way. If you haven’t done this yourself, then I’m sure you know someone who has. Usually it is to stop smoking, to spend less, to drink less alcohol, or perhaps most common of all to lose weight and exercise more. For Christians, New Year’s resolutions may include intending to read the Bible every day, to pray more regularly and to attend worship more often.

All of these things are laudable goals and yet I wonder how many resolutions remain intact by every February 1st? For Christian and non-Christian alike, resolving to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation to stop or start that activity. For example, why do you want to read the Bible each day? Is it to grow spiritually and draw nearer to God or is it just that you heard someone say it was a good idea? Is the motivation of diet and exercise simply our own vanity or is it that we might honour God with our bodies?

In our passage (above) St. Paul says he can do all things through him who strengthens me. In the preceding verses Paul has spoken about being content whether he has much or little, whether he is well fed or hungry. These words remind us of our own Covenant service which many of us will have shared in by the time you read this article. For Methodists, the Covenant service is akin to our New Year’s resolution as we once again promise to live our lives not for ourselves but for God. The Covenant reminds us that the God of the promise is our inspiration and motivation and that all we resolve to do springs from our relationship with him.

So often it seems that St. Paul had little or no concern for his own welfare. His motivation in spreading the Gospel was his own encounter with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road. From that point onwards, he resolved to spend his life in Christ’s service, whatever that meant and wherever it led him.

Whether we have made New Year’s resolutions or entered once again our Covenant with God (or maybe done both) we can be sure that our promises can only be upheld if our lives remain God centred.

With every blessing for 2019

Rev Tanya