By Mike Day

We are two weeks into the new year. How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Are you celebrating that you’ve gone two weeks without any soft drinks or sweets? Have you maintained that routine of crawling out of bed, lacing up your running shoes, and hitting the treadmill or pavement? Did you set up your bank account with an automatic transfer so that you could finally start saving money instead of spending every dollar from your paycheck?

What changes have you already noticed? Do you feel better about yourself? Have you lost a pound or two?

The next few weeks will determine whether these new resolutions will mark who you are becoming or if they will reveal that once again, January 1 resolutions rarely stick around come February and March. For a new way of life to stick, the practices you are putting into place will have to last long enough to become new habits.

While dieting and exercise are important in creating the new you, did you consider addressing any heart habits? I’ve come to realize the importance of heart change as the basis for any other changes in my life.

Think about it…. So what if I lose 15 pounds but I still see myself as worthless and inferior to others? Does it really matter that I’ve started putting $25 a week into a savings account if selfishness and greed dictate my actions?

When the Apostle Paul writes to a group of new Christians, he encourages them to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Paul addresses the core of who we are as people. He sees lasting change starting with the heart. Throughout the Bible, we read challenges to purify the heart, strengthen the heart, and guard the heart.

What heart habits will you develop so that the new you will be revealed by more than what the bathroom scale says about your body weight?

I encourage you to set aside a few minutes each day throughout the week to reflect on these 5 heart words: Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Forgiveness, and Patience.

For example, on Mondays, think about compassion. List Bible verses about compassion. Each Monday focus on a different Bible verse. Research what other writers say about compassion. Note opportunities you had to show compassion. On the other days of the week, give time to ponder the other attributes.

That way, when June and July arrive, not only will you be able to get into that summer bathing suit and feel good about yourself, but, hopefully, these new heart habits will lead you to become a person who is making a positive impact on others and the world.

Mike Day is the pastor of Celebration Church in Hoschton.

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