Traditionally 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?