Find this person NOW and your New Year will be much better …

Three years ago, the first day of 2015 started off with a stereotypical bang! Sure enough, one of the local gyms was filling up very quickly with dozens of people who had made the resolution to “lose weight and get in shape” pouring into the gym first thing that morning.

Good for them!

I’m NOT one to scoff at people who make resolutions, even though most people fail very early in the New Year at keeping any of their pledges. But at least for the moment they’re out there trying, and for some of those people, they’ll exercise just enough perseverance to push through and hit at least a part of their goals.

One thing is for sure, you miss one hundred percent of what you don’t strike at, so get out there and try!

That reminds of the time I went ice skating.

Now you have to know that I’m terrible at anything that requires strapping something to my feet and performing with it.

Roller skating? Fail!

Snow skiing? Fail!

If it’s more than putting on shoes or boots and walking, it presents a problem for me. So the idea of strapping on a shoe with a very thin blade on the bottom of it, and then attempting to walk on ice with it, seemed thoroughly ludicrous! But I had a group of teens who wanted to go ice skating, so we went, I tried, and actually surprised myself by staying on my feet for most of the short duration I gave it a shot.

But I gave it shot.

I tried!

The only reason I got out there and made an effort to ice skate was because of the encouragement of the teens who wanted me to be out there with them. And there’s the secret to making your New Year better than it would otherwise be — find someone who will push you to heights, achievements, and levels of growth you would not otherwise reach on your own.

The editors of “Homiletics” recounted Muhammad Ali’s answer to the question of the greatest lesson he’d ever learned. He told the story of a heavyweight title bout against Sonny Liston in 1964:

    Liston was the strongest man I’d ever fought. Every time I hit him, it hurt me worse than it did him. I gave him everything I had.
    When the sixth round ended, I was completely spent. I couldn’t even raise my arms. I couldn’t even stand up to go back onto the ring. “I’m goin’ home!” I told [trainer] Angelo Dundee. “I’m not going back in there!”

    Hearing this, Dundee demanded that Ali get ready to go in. Ali refused. The bell rang, and still Ali didn’t leave his seat. Dundee
    pushed him and shouted, “Get in there and don’t come out until you’re the heavyweight champion of the world!”

    Ali struggled to his feet. Liston didn’t.

    At the end of that fight, Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, was the new heavyweight champion of the world.

    “The greatest lesson I’ve learned,” Ali said, “is to have someone pushin’ you and makin’ you do things you don’t think you can

One thing we’re all bound to face in 2018 are opportunities, challenges, trials, and troubles that will take more than we can handle on our own. But we’ll get much farther, whether it’s in creating opportunities, embracing opportunities offered, or facing tests and difficulties, if we have someone in our corner urging us to push on to be the champions we can be.

Do you have your own version of an Angelo Dundee in your corner? If not, go find that person and enlist their friendship and fellowship while the year is brand new.

And don’t forget to be an encourager to others as well …

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11.