The New Year’s Resolution that Actually Works!

New Year's Resolution, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 127:1Traditionally I have not been fond of the idea of New Year’s resolutions.  In my mind, if you need to be doing something and aren’t already doing it then the simple changing of the calendar isn’t likely to have very much long term effect.  Sure, it’s a brand new year and the hopeful optimist in me wants to believe in limitless possibilities but the reality is, unless we change our behavior permanently then our New Year’s resolutions will never be more than good ideas.  I know that sounds terribly pessimistic but please, stay with me.

I don’t know about you, but I am the type of guy who likes things a certain way.  I tend to stick to a pretty close schedule and I tend to do the same actions in the same ways, day in and day out, unless I am forced out of that pattern by circumstances or other people.  This is fine, as long as my thoughts and actions line up with what God wants for my life according to what He tells me in His Word.  When it’s not fine is when I allow certain thoughts and actions to become a part of my daily existence to the point that they become harmful habits.  And let’s face it, harmful habits are why we have New Year’s Resolutions in the first place, right?

Whether it’s putting things in to our bodies that we shouldn’t or it’s watching and listening to things that darken our thoughts and don’t point us toward the truth, around the New Year we seem more open to the idea of new beginnings and trying to do and be better.  That impetus to change is a good thing and I’m not arguing that we should ignore it or give up without trying, although it may seem that way initially.  Sometimes, human effort alone leads to success.  Sometimes, we can stick with the plan and we actually do exercise more and eat a better diet and lose weight and become a  more healthy person in the process.  Sometimes.

Just as often (maybe even more often), however, we stray from the plan or end up dropping the plan altogether.  We have good intentions but for some reason we just don’t follow through.  Or perhaps we are able to stick to the plan but the results are not what we hoped.  We do everything in our power to be successful and to reach our goals but life and circumstances keep getting in the way and our human effort just isn’t getting it done.

I’ve said this to my Sunday School class many times but God did not create man so that he could follow a set of rules.  God created man for relationship (and isn’t that so much better!) and we are only ever going to find peace and fulfillment inside of that relationship to our Heavenly Father.  With that in mind, the answer to any improvement that we want to make in our lives must come from Godly inspiration and must be committed to Him.  Here are a couple of helpful verses:

But seek first (continually seek) His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. Psalm 127:1 (NASB)

Looking at these two verses together I think the idea should be clear.  When we make it our goal to seek God’s kingdom first and to pursue our relationship to our Father above and beyond anything else then He is going to make sure that we are taken care of.  We will still struggle with certain sins and weaknesses of the flesh as long as the Lord leaves us on this earth but rest assured that if God is our goal then His goal is going to be to make us like Him and He is not going to leave us in our error and sin forever.  Put simply, God is going to fix us and I pray every day for a little more “fixing” from the Lord!

We also need to remember that it’s ok for us to have plans and dreams but those plans and dreams must be in God’s timing and in God’s way.  Any resolution that we make that is inspired by God in this way will always, 100% of the time come to pass.  As we begin this new year, why not seek Him ever more earnestly and learn what kinds of plans and resolutions would please Him most?


Who Will Build Your House This Year?

Success, New Years Resolutions

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1)

I want for you to be successful.  I want for your family to be well cared for and I want them to be blessed by your labors.

No matter how 2013 turned out for you and no matter what your past looks like, today is another chance and another opportunity for you to be successful.  And while it is true that each day is a new beginning, at no time is that more true than on the first day of a new year.

New Year’s Resolutions exist for precisely this reason.  We tell ourselves that this year, it is finally going to be different.  This year, I will finally lose that weight.  This year, I will finally kick that bad habit.  And this year, I will definitely be a better person.

We tend to make our resolutions with the best of intentions but how many of those resolutions based on good intentions actually succeed?  Can there be something better than good intentions for goal-setting and resolution making?

Or perhaps if you are like me and slightly cynical, you never plan to make New Year’s Resolutions at all.  You might say, as I once did, that they are a waste of time.  Why wait until January 1 to decide to be a better person if you can’t be bothered to go ahead and start today?  After all, if something is worth doing then shouldn’t we be giving it our best shot right now?

This is the excuse that I have used for years and it’s worked very well until just recently.  What I once thought of as a legitimate reason for staying away from New Year’s Resolutions was in fact just a fear of failure and an attitude of defeat.  After all, if I never even attempt something then I can’t very well say that I have failed at it, can I?

I can now say with certainty that this is not how God would have us live.  God wants bold sons and daughters who have founded their lives on the rock of His truth.  He wants men and women and boys and girls who are ready to live courageously and visibly for Him.

The truth is, God loves us and desires to be intimately included in all areas of our life.  And when we include Him and acknowledge Him in our plans, He blesses us and causes our plans to succeed.

The opposite is also true.  When we live our lives apart from God and walk in ways that seem wise to us we will inevitably fail.  We may have success for a time, or in some areas, but we will not truly be all that God desires for us unless we walk with Him.

So this year, right from January 1, I am dedicating my days to God and praying for guidance and success in all areas of my life.  I have some specific goals in mind that I will write down and pray about and this year I look forward to seeing how God answers those prayers.  He may change my mind about some of them and send me in a different direction altogether. That’s okay with me because I know that it will ultimately be for my benefit and His glory.

The truly wonderful thing about making a New Year’s Resolution that includes God and is based on His strength and character is that it cannot fail because He cannot fail.  So this year, let us follow the advice given in Psalm 127:1 and let the Lord build our houses and not try to do it in our own strength.  This is the true path of success and the only way to make a New Year’s Resolution that lasts.