New Year’s resolutions are not a recent phenomenon. The practice goes back three millennia to the Babylonians. Although there is nothing magic about January 1, the thought of a fresh start is encouragement enough for many to resolve to improve on the past. Over the years I’ve resolved to better manage my money, read more, spend more time with my family and even joined the throngs who resolve to lose weight.
Fellow Christians often resolve to pray more, read through the Bible in a year, or to attend church more regularly. While these are admirable goals they usually fail just as often as the others. Why? It is because there is no power in a mere resolution. Rather it is the motive and determination behind the resolution that causes one to either succeed or fail.
For example, why would someone want to read through the Bible in a year? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually, or is it simply a good thing to do? Why lose weight? Is it to honor God, or is it something others are doing?
Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution and you are truly committed to seeing it through with His help, it has a chance for success. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it.
So, what sort of New Year’s resolutions should we make? Here are some suggestions: (1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regard to what resolutions, if 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. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
Happy New Year.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com for information.