Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Resolutions

New Year’s Eve is upon us! In fifty-nine and a half hours it will be 2022! Will you be making some New Year’s resolutions? The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. It is not a bad thing to do so. For whatever reason, there does seem to be something about the beginning of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start. We know there really is no difference between Friday, December 31 and Saturday, January 1. Nothing magical or mysterious happens at midnight on New Year’s E

Scripture is clear in both Colossians and Romans that no day is more holy than another. In fact, I just did a Bible Study on the fact that the Scriptures actually do not call for a celebration of Christmas or Easter either. At the same time, neither does the Bible prohibit these celebrations. Similarly, Scripture does not speak for or against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. The question is, if a Christian were to make a New Year’s resolution, what should it be?

The usual resolutions include quitting smoking, drinking, to be better at managing one’s money, and to spend more time with family. Of course, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, along with exercising more and eating healthy. It seems as though the overwhelming majority of New Year’s resolutions are physical things. Perhaps among Christians, this should not be the case.

Frequently, Christians make a resolution to pray more, or read the Bible more, or attend church more regularly. While these are wonderful goals, they often fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions. Why? The resolve to start or stop an activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation. For example, why do you want to read the Bible more? Do you want to honor God and grow spiritually, or do you think Christians are supposed to do that, so you probably should? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honor yourself?

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Jesus says, “…I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If God is the center of our New Year’s resolutions, they have a much greater chance for success, depending on our commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable us to fulfill it. If our resolution is not God-honoring or is not in agreement with His Word, it will not be fulfilled.

What sort of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Whatever they may be, I offer these suggestions: (1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) regarding any resolutions, and ask Him to let you know any He would have you make; (2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; (6) don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. As Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”           

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