Happy New Year!
Have you started your New Year's resolution? Or...have you already broken it?
As far back as I can remember I have never liked to make a new year's resolution. Mainly, because I know myself well enough to know that I don't have the fortitude to keep it. Blame it on laziness, distraction, weakness, or whatever…but I don't like to set myself up for failure.
Last week as I was studying for my Sunday school lesson, I ran across this statement, "Should Christians make New Year's Resolutions?" Well of course we should; there's even a hymn for it:
I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world's delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.
I looked up the word resolution and the definition that I liked best was "a firmness of purpose". So yes, I decided, Christians should make resolutions. Like the hymn says, be resolved not to be charmed by what the world has to offer…things that are higher and nobler should be what we try to obtain.
Then I began thinking about the new year and making changes. My thought pattern (if you dare to listen in) went something like this (imagine me talking to myself):
As a Christian, maybe I should "resolve" to do some things differently.
--I don't make New Year's Resolutions.
But as a Christian, I should be resolved about some things.
--I don't like New Year's Resolutions.
Have I ever lost weight, or read my Bible in a year, or stopped any bad habit, or started any good habit?
--Well… probably, I just can't think of anything right now.
Maybe if I make one New Year's Resolution that I was going to do anyway, like lose weight (yeah, right).
--But it's a New Year's Resolution.
Oh, come on! What's it matter what I call it? It's the same thing!
-- I don't like New Year's Resolutions.
But losing weight would be a good goal, and I know I will be able to keep that.
…Oh good…there's still some cookies left from Christmas…
I wonder where that fudge is that Mom made.
...I had better get that eaten if I'm going to make a resolution!
Actually, that was one of my more sane "conversations". But the point is, that statement about Christians making resolutions got me thinking. When I make a decision to change something about myself, why do I want to change? What's the reason behind the change?
Well, there are a lot of things we (I'm including you now, so I don't have to be out here by myself) all could change. Maybe it has to do with weight, punctuality, finances, attitude—you could insert a thousand things. But what are the reasons behind the change?
Let's take weight—you may want to lose, or gain, weight to improve your looks, or for health reasons.
Or finances—maybe you want to try to learn to save money so you can take your dream trip.
Maybe your attitude needs to change so you can be polite and considerate.
Although these changes, and the reasons for them, are good, the center of all the reasons is "I".
"I want to change so I will be better".
As a Christian, the changes I make should bring honor to God so I can be used for his glory.
- Does God want me to manage my weight? Yes, but I should seek out his will in that area.
- Does God want me to be more financially responsible? Yes, but I should find out what he wants me to do with my finances.
- Does God want me to have a loving attitude? Yes, but I should desire his way over mine.
Proverbs 16, verses 3 and 9 says, "Commit thy work unto the Lord, and thy thoughts will be established; A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps."
Christians should be resolved, we should have a firmness of purpose, but our goal should not be self-improvement, but God-honoring—"Heed what he saith, Do what he willeth…" However, we don't have to wait until January 1st, we can be resolved to change anytime of the year, month, week, or day. Just pick a starting point and make sure the hub of that decision wheel is God and he will establish your steps.
By seeking to be more like Christ, I'm becoming a better me.