The new year is here, and with it the resolutions we all seem to make – losing a few pounds after the indulgences of the holidays, maybe signing up for a gym membership and really getting in shape.

Of course, we know how that usually turns out. After a month or so, the enthusiasm evaporates, people give up on their resolutions and things go back to the way they were.

The same thing happens in the Christian life. People decide they’ve had enough of their old lives, hanging onto the hurts and habits of the past, and they promise themselves they’ll really pursue Christ this time. And a few weeks later, they find themselves in the same familiar patterns as before.

If you’re seeking a new start in this new year, you might worry where you’ll find the motivation to take your walk with Christ to the next level. I wish I had an easy answer. There is no magic pill that can replace simply staying committed to what’s important.

Persistence is nothing more than starting over every single day. Forget the failures of the past. Every day is a new day, a new opportunity. Treat it that way!

This isn’t just an issue for new Christians, either.

All too often, I’ll talk with long-time believers who are looking back, not forward. They rest on past accomplishments – that mission trip they took, or that service project or some other moment when God used them in a powerful way. But rather than remembrances, these things become idols in their lives, and excuses for not doing much today.

But if we live with our focus on Jesus, we’ll be looking ahead at what God has in store for us next. Yes, it’s wonderful to recall how God worked through you in the past. But it’s far more important to make yourself available to God to see what He wants to do through you today!

The Bible often describes life as a race, and not a sprint but an ultra-marathon. Some of us run the race well, some stumble to the finish line and others stop long before the race ends.

But our goal as believers in Jesus Christ is to run the race strong, and finish well. We do that by exercising our faith and spending time with God!

There will be occasions when you’re tempted to skip that precious time with the Lord. Things come up, life gets in the way and excuses are easy to find.

But this year, and all the years that follow, make it a priority to exercise your faith, digging into God’s Word and spending time in prayer each day.

I can assure you you’ll be better equipped to face the problems of life. And as you gain the eternal perspective God wants you to have, your problems won’t seem nearly as big as they once did!

                                                                                                                           -Jack Graham