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The Rushmore Report – Billy Graham on New Year’s Resolutions

Known as “America’s Pastor,” Billy Graham remains the most significant Christian figure of the last 100 years. In December, 2011, already well into his 90s, Graham fielded a question about New Year’s resolutions. Following is that question and Dr. Graham’s response. As we enter a new year, his words are as timely and inspired today as they were when he wrote them seven years ago.

Question: I’ve about decided I’m not going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. I’ve always done it, but I don’t think I’ve ever managed to keep a single one more than a few weeks. Why should I bother?

Answer: You’re right; it’s probably not worth bothering with resolutions if you start out assuming you’re going to fail, because that’s exactly what you’ll end up doing. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and I suggest you reconsider.

The start of a new year is a good time to stop and look at our lives, and that’s the first step in making any realistic resolutions. What needs to be improved in our lives? What needs to be eliminated or added? Most of all, what does God see when he looks at me, and what does he want me to do with his help? What is his will for the coming year, and for my life? The Bible says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Then make sure your resolutions are realistic. Many New Year’s resolutions aren’t “resolutions” at all; they’re only vague dreams or wishes. Don’t focus on self-centered goals; focus instead on what God wants to do in your life. Above all, make sure of your commitment to Christ, and if it means little to you, why not begin the new year by giving your life to him?

Finally, think through how you can achieve the goals you’ve set. Pray for God’s help; plan what steps you need to take; get others to encourage and help you. May 2012 become the best year you’ve ever had, as you build your life on the foundation of Christ and his word.

A New Year

Do you know the difference between an optimist and a pessimist? An optimist will stay up until midnight to welcome the New Year. A pessimist will stay up to make sure the old year leaves.

I like the way an elderly man prayed for the New Year. “Lord, grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”

Are you a “resolution” person? I always set New Year’s resolutions.

One guy was worried about his weight. His New Year’s resolution that year was to get his weight under 180 pounds. The next year his resolution was to get his weight down under 200. And the year after that, he resolved “to develop a realistic attitude about my weight.”

Last year, he resolved to join a gym. And this year’s resolution is “to drive by the gym at least three days a week.”

I like what Mark Twain said. “New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving the road to hell with them as usual.

The Bible says life is really short, like a vapor. You really don’t have the promise of a New Year, but of a new day. So celebrate that promise. And if you’re really serious, go drive by a gym.

Happy New Year! May 2018 be your most blessed year yet.