Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
A study in 2016 found that 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but by the end of the year only 9 percent claimed success in keeping their resolutions. Reasons for failure to keep resolutions abound: unrealistic goals, poor record-keeping, forgetfulness, and an unreasonable number of resolutions.
When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions for the coming year, perhaps we should follow the counsel of the fourth-century Church father, Augustine of Hippo: “Once and for all, I give you this one short command: love, and do what you will.” That advice comes from a series of sermons Augustine preached on love as discussed in the letter of 1 John. He also expressed the corollary: “But to have love and be a bad person is impossible.” We could blend Augustine’s words with Jesus’ words and say, “Love God and do what you will.”
Consider one resolution for the coming year: Love God with all you have and are—then do what you will. That should be the first and greatest resolution we make and keep.
Love, and do what you will. Augustine
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