Matters of Faith: Birthdays Are Times for New Resolutions

Romans 12:1-2‬(‭NKJV)‬‬‬
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Every year, we get to acknowledge and sometimes celebrate another year of life. One day a year that was the day we entered into the world. Having no idea what life had in store for us, year-by-year we learn, plan and review our lives literally on a daily basis. But once a year we get a personal new year that reminds us of the years gone by and the potential for the years that lie ahead. For me, it’s always a time to make resolutions. It’s a time to reflect on the accomplishments and failures of the previous year, as well as a time to set new goals and reassess priorities. Being but hours away from my day of birth, I began looking for guidance and inspiration that would be both compelling and challenging. I found it in the book of Romans.

Paul outlined in chapters 1-11 the plan of salvation (declared ‘not guilty’ and set free; saved). Since no one, including yours truly, is free of sin, (“all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” – 3:23), Paul opens chapter 12 with an earnest plea. “I beseech you,” which is often translated, “I beg you.” We are being pushed hard to adopt the behaviors he is about to outline so that we will not just be counted as one of those who have been declared not guilty, but our lives will reflect the grace and the mercy of Christ, like those who believe that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (10:13).” We are to treat our bodies as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). We are urged, while we live in the world with its systems, politics and morays, to transform our thinking from the carnal to the spiritual (v. 2). We’re to serve God using the gifts He has given us without boasting, but with diligence, not keeping them for or to ourselves, but using them to His glory and for the good of mankind (vv. 3-8). He ends the chapter by telling us that we must let our behavior reflect that of a believer, concluding with these words, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (v. 21).”

For my new year of life, I needed an encouraging word and to be pointed in the right direction. What I got from Romans 12 is not just a few words of inspiration, but transforming words that can apply to every day of life. It raised my standard and challenged me to be better than I could ever be on my own. Isn’t that what most of us want; a challenge that will take us beyond the mediocre to the magnificent? A new year, a new resolution!

Be Blessed +++

20161113_JLRussellRev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting; and host of “Matters of Faith: The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter @jlorenr, and email us at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email