Happy New Year from Maranatha Baptist Seminary

While purely symbolic, the start of a new year leads many people to consider some change in their lives. We live in a world where change seems to be the only constant anymore, and much of that change makes many of us nervous.  Change is not inherently a bad thing, however. New Year’s Resolutions are usually good things, although these Resolutions should not be limited only to January 1st.  This is a good time to consider some needed change.

Change requires an initial, honest analysis of where we are. Some questions concern our spiritual life – how is our relationship with God? Are we content with our knowledge of Scripture? Do we pray enough – either in length or in frequency?

Other questions concern our family life. How is our relationship to our spouse, parents, or children? CNN, referring to a study in the journal Child Development, notes that parents spend about seven to eight hours a week with their children (ages 8-15) in a family setting. Mothers get in another 60 to 75 minutes a week alone with each child, and dads get in about an hour a week alone with each child. The study found some interesting information. “Numerous other studies have found benefits for kids who spend more time with their families, such as fewer delinquent behaviors and less likelihood to give in to peer pressure, the study notes. In this study, the findings about fathers proved to be very interesting, Crouter said. While increased time with Dad showed key benefits for self-esteem and ‘social competence,’ time with Mom did not show the same correlations. ‘In two-parent families, the mother’s role as caregiver is so scripted that her involvement can easily go unnoticed and unacknowledged,’ researchers note. Meanwhile, kids whose fathers spend one-on-one time with them ‘may develop higher general self-worth because their fathers go beyond social expectations to devote undivided attention to them.’”

Even more questions concern our ministry. What do we do in our local churches? How supportive are we of its various ministries? Are we faithful? Do we stand with its leadership and help them when and where we can?

More questions rise concerning our jobs, our neighbors, our hobbies, and numerous other areas of life.

Jonathan Edwards made a series of seventy resolutions to guide his life. The first is a guiding resolution: “Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.” This is Edwards’ explication of Paul’s declaration that we should do all to the glory of God. This should be at the heart of our resoluteness, as well.