For better or worse, we are marching swiftly toward the end of another year. In just another day, we will say goodbye to 2017. For some this will result in a huge party and celebration. For others, the evening and night will end more quietly at home with family or a few close friends. Some will also attend services in their churches, praying into the New Year.
A great many persons are already looking at potential “New Year’s Resolutions”. A quick look at a dictionary will tell us that a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something”.
If I listen to most people in my sphere, those resolutions typically include three areas: exercise, diet, and finances. The funny thing about that is these are often the same resolutions in one form or another that were on their list a year ago and possibly even a year or so before that.
If our resolutions are meant to help us resolve to take action in an area of weakness or difficulty, what causes them to remain on our list year after year?
I wonder if we miss the core issue underneath these resolutions even when we include things like daily prayer and Bible reading.
How well do we understand ourselves? How well do we understand the world in which we live, both seen and unseen?
As I consider my own year of 2017, many things occurred within the year I did not anticipate a year ago on the eve of this year. Some were wonderful surprises and paths that the Lord opened. Others were challenges I did not know I would face. Even if I had made resolutions last year at this time (I did not!), the typical ones would not have really addressed either the surprises or challenges.
If my intent is to continue to grow and improve each year in all areas of my life, I am beginning to think I should really be asking the One who knows me better than I know myself what should be on my list for 2018.
Considering He holds and knows the future as well as my strengths and weaknesses, wouldn’t He be the one most qualified to create the list?
I confess I would like to lose some weight, exercise more, and save a bit more money, but those are largely temporal things that can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Certainly I need to do my part to manage or steward what is mine, but not every aspect of any of them will always be under my total control.
I think the key resolutions would be those, which are eternal. As a result, today I ask myself some questions of the Lord and myself.
- What most impedes my spiritual growth?
- In what areas do I most often yield to temptation?
- Where does my faith falter and fear creep in?
- How can I most nourish my daily devotional life?
- In what ways does my life fail to reflect Jesus to those with whom I am in relationship?
- Which relationships are those given to me that give support, encouragement, and accountability on my journey through the New Year?
You see, I believe if I have honestly searched my heart and the Lord’s on these questions, He will point me to His resolutions for my 2018 year.
If He has appointed the resolutions, will He not also equip and provide for victory to accomplish them?
I think so if I yield to His direction.
Perhaps we need resolutions to nudge us forward, but we need to adjust what informs us of which ones to make. Consider Paul’s words:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Phil. 3:12-14 ESV