On New Year’s Day, Make a Six-Week Resolution Instead

By Joe McKeever

I was stunned. “The rest of my life?”

Even when I’m in my eighties? And beyond?

“Absolutely. As long as you are alive.”

Since the radiation had destroyed many saliva glands, my teeth were without much of the protection that saliva provides against decay. (Who knew that saliva protects against decay? I sure didn’t.) So, the fluoride gel replaces the hardening, protective work of the saliva.

My E-N-T doctor told of one patient who was careless in doing the fluoride treatments and ended up having to have all his teeth removed due to decay. That was all the motivation I needed.

These days, I think nothing about it, but treat that nightly procedure as a normal step in preparing for bed.

One day at a time. That’s the secret.

That’s how the Lord fed Israel the manna in the wilderness. (The story is found in Exodus 16.)

God sent this strange, heavenly food in daily-sized portions. No one was to try to store up the manna for another day or it would spoil. But no matter, because the next day would find a fresh new supply falling from the skies. (The exception was that on the sixth day, enough for the Sabbath would fall.)

Think of this as a metaphor for how the Lord’s disciples are to live for Him and walk with Him: one day at a time.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)

“Do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses never cease, for HIs compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Included in the various “twelve step” programs of overcoming addictions is a major readjustment in thinking requiring the patient to take life one day at a time. “I do not know what I will do tomorrow, but just for today, I can do this!”

And, then, you face the next day the same way. Eventually, you will have piled up so many days that you have rebuilt your character and reshaped your life. It’s a grand achievement, one you will have every right to rejoice in.

This is not about pillows. These days, I usually sleep with three or four, and they’ve not affected my posture that I can tell.

Go for better goals, tackle larger giants in your life….

–get on top of your eating addictions….begin reading your Bible each day….start walking a mile a day (and gradually increase it) or even jogging if you are young enough and healthy enough.

–if you are a student struggling with a lack of discipline, prayerfully identify some change you can do that will make a big difference. Start with that.

–if you are a parent who has grown sloppy and inattentive in leading and teaching your children, is there one thing you can do every day that would reverse that downward trend and begin reforming your home?

–if you are a husband or wife who has been negligent of the one person on earth who matters most to you, consider taking a lesson from a couple who were members of one of my churches. Andrew and Mae Puckett told Margaret and me that some years earlier, they had decided their marriage was suffering from neglect, and they they would do something about it. From that day forward, every day, they gave each other some gift of love. Every day a gift. Perhaps a flower or a note, maybe something more, I don’t remember. Great idea, isn’t it?

Whatever you decide to do, try it for six weeks.

Have fun. This could be life-changing. And think how wonderful that would be!

Joe McKeever

Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and retired Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans.