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The Road to Hope & Purpose (and Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions)

no-matter-how-often-we-let-God-down-christopher-kirwan-tuskawilla-presbyterianOften the issue of failed New Year’s resolutions is not the creation of a resolution, or a vow to stop a destructive habit or to begin a healthy one. The primary issues circle around a few other factors.

One frequent downfall to New Year’s resolutions is that the goals that are set are not always realistic. For example, if we promise ourselves that we are going to run at least 10 miles a day, and we have never run more than a mile ever in our life before, is that an attainable, or even a possible goal? Already we have put ourselves at a significant disadvantage.

Another frequent mistake with resolutions is that we make too many of them and can’t focus on any single one.

Yet another prominent factor that usually leads to the demise of our resolutions is the lack of any form of accountability. If, say, we were to resolve to not eat French fries for an entire year, what (or who) exactly is there to call us out on that if we give in to temptation?

As a church community and family we can help one another remain vigilant and on the path of pursuing God’s purpose for us, to love one another, stranger and friend alike.

If we look to the hope and purpose God has given us, we can rest assured that they will always be present. Now, they may not always numb a toothache, completely mend a broken heart or restore the damage from a tragedy or loss. But they can certainly give us something to look forward to.

The lofty goals and purpose God has set out before us will still be present, even if we fail. That means, even if we do not consistently and always love our neighbor as we should, or care for one another in a forgiving and graceful manner, or fail to complete a New Year’s resolution, God will not remove the hope we have been given in Jesus Christ.

So too is the life of the church. We must maintain hope. Hope that Christ will eventually return to restore order to the world. Hope that despite the tragedies of life that may befall us or our loved ones, death will not have the final world. A hope that we can complete and fulfill our resolution goals we set for ourselves. And, lastly, a hope that we can make a big difference in a world that often seems wrought with darkness, violence, hatred, and malice.

Yet, amidst all this hope, we must also maintain a sense of purpose. We must remember that as much as we want to make worship about us, or about others, it ultimately is really about God. We come to worship, pray, praise, confess to and thank God for anything and everything in life. Then, during our time spent away from the hallowed walls of our church property, we are to live in a Christ-like manner and serve God in various ways that would be pleasing to Him.

Again, this can be accomplished through loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, or through showing others grace when a mistake is made or a transgression is enacted. This can be accomplished through hospitality, humility, joy, love, kindness, generosity and sharing peace. And yes, we can even hold others accountable for their actions or transgressions, all in a loving and forgiving manner.

We understand that no matter how often we may let God down in fulfilling our purpose, we can see that the hope and promise of His presence and eternal life will not be taken away.

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