Starting something new always gives one a sensation of a new chance, a new opportunity. A new year is like that—a gift from Cod—365 days to live and experience His love.
When I think of the new year, I think of the many decisions I'll have to make along the way. I know that these decisions will influence my attitudes, my interests, and my relationship with God and with others.
I heard about a professor who would say, "That which you decide early in the morning will guide your decisions and choices during the entire day." I believe, however, that we can seek knowledge and guidance so that our daily decisions foster our spiritual growth and receive divine approval with respect to our attitudes.
Although the correct way is not always easy, we can significantly improve in this matter. The book of Proverbs, as well as the entire Bible, continually encourages us to make wise decisions in everything we do. Proverbs provides questions we can ask ourselves in any situation that requires a wise and coherent decision.
Some time ago, I presented the following questions to my sons during a family trip. It was a creative yet spiritual way for them to express how God would help them face their daily challenges and choices.
Ask yourself these questions when you are facing an important decision:
• Does this choice honor Cod?
• Is this choice in accordance with God's values and principles?
• What are my motives in this decision?
• Is this choice something that anyone could know, or could it even be published?
• Does this decision have eternal consequences?
• What consequences will this choice have in 10 years?
• Am I making this decision simply because of peer pressure?
• Will this decision affect other people?
• Could other people be involved in this decision, or only me?
• What do wise people and counselors who know me think about this choice?
• Have I prayed about this decision?
In the book of Micah, there is a verse that serves as a compass when dealing with ethical decisions in any area of our lives. I counsel you to read it and follow the counsels of the old prophet: "He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your Cod?" (Micah 6:8).
All wisdom comes from God. His counsel is what you and I need to start a new year with a determined purpose: to reflect God's will in the choices for our lives!
General Conference Women's Ministries Associate Director