New Years is a time where lots of people do some reflecting on their life over the past year. Often those reflections reveal some shortcomings or regrets and result in resolutions that are intended to ensure those shortcomings and things that caused regret won’t be repeated in the New Year.
Brother Jeremiah was at the end of his life when he reflected on his many years of Christian service and wrote:
If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I know of very few things I would take seriously. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would do more walking and looking. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who live prophylactically and sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had it to do over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I have been one of those people who never go anywhere without a thermometer, aspirin, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would play more. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daises.
As with Brother Jeremiah, most of us have regrets. That is certainly true of the Psalmist in Psalm 139:23-24 where we read:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
I think the example of the Psalmist was similar to what a lot of people do at New Years. The problem is if one only takes stock of their life once a year, I suspect there would be quite a build-up of “anxious thoughts and, “offensive ways” in one’s heart.
The psalmist asked God to probe his heart. He recognized His need to deal with stuff in his life that was offensive to God. God already knew the psalmist’s heart. He didn’t need to be asked to know it. He also knows your heart and mine. He knows our hearts better than we do. That is why we need Him to search our hearts. We might miss something. You and I may have friends who have seen some of our short comings and have pointed them out to us. If that has happened to you, you may have found yourself getting a little bit irritated and defensive. After all, that friend probably wasn’t perfect either, and their motives for correcting you, may not be absolutely pure.
That isn’t the case with God. When He searches our hearts and shows us stuff that displeases Him, those observations are being made by one who is without sin. His judgements are always right and true. His motives for pointing out our faults are as pure as they can be.
So, if you are in the habit of making New Year’s Resolutions or even if you are not, why not make a resolution to ask God to search your heart every day in this coming year? You could just memorize Psalm 139:3-4 and pray it back to God each day. That way you will keep a short account with God. You won’t have junk building up between you and God. As you confess those offenses that God has shown you, you’ll find you have less regrets at years end and I’m pretty sure you’ll feel more comfortable spending time with God regularly throughout the year.