I just finished reading an article by James Martin, a Jesuit priest. In the article he lists, in rather convicting fashion, the twelve actions he wants to refrain from this year. You can read it for yourself at.
but here’s the list if you’re curious:
1. Compare yourself with others
2. Place heavy demands (“should”) on yourself
3. Try really hard to get people to like you
4. Interrupt others while they are speaking
5. Worry how you look
6. Work constantly with no time to be refreshed
7. Fail to cut people slack
8. Complain about minor illnesses
9. Be a jerk
10. Avoid doing the right thing
11. Ridicule people
12. Be too hard on yourself
Now that list in a lot of ways makes complete sense. No one approaches the new year and resolves or vows to be a jerk to others. You get what I mean? But the list itself can be heavy! Who in the world can do this in their own power?
This is why the gospel is critical in our lives! At the core of all of these stupid things is a failure to take the gospel seriously. That’s why we never get past the gospel. The gospel is something we always have to remind ourselves of because we forget it. And the gospel truly is the news that the Father is committed in love to you and has adopted you as a His own, treating you with the same affection that He gives to His Son. And it is this Son who has demonstrated this by offering His life as a way to invite you into the life you’ve always wanted! And it is the Spirit who then marks us as belonging to Jesus and empowers us to truly live the life God has in mind.
Change wrought in the new year is a Spirit-led and empowered activity! As we all enter into the new year let’s take the time to remember the truly good news that has been made available to us!