Statistics tell us that almost 90% of Americans make at least one New Year's resolution. I, however, don't like New Year's Resolutions. On the surface it seems like such a great idea. As Christians we do believe in repentance, so the dawning of a new year should be a joyous thing to anticipate. However, as humans, we know our own failings. If we're really honest with ourselves, most resolutions we've made in the past were already broken by Valentine's Day, as were those of a majority of resolution-makers.
There is something flawed though with the concept of a New Year's resolution on several levels, especially if we are Christians. First of all, waiting until a particular date to change really doesn't make much sense. As Christians, we have an opportunity to repent and begin anew every single day. Doesn't it seem like a better idea to make the change at the time it's recognized as a need? Waiting only further ingrains in us the undesirable behavior while we're waiting to make a change.
The second flaw in this concept is that making a New Year's resolution implies that we will immediately change. On January 1, I will no longer ______ or I will begin to __________. That sets us up for certain failure, doesn't it? How long did it take us to develop the undesirable behavior? If it has taken a lifetime to develop the undesirable habits why would we believe we can change in an instant, a day or even in a year?
These are both reasons that fewer than 20% of those who make resolutions are actually able to keep them over time. Our biggest mistake when resolving to change though is that we rely upon our own determination, will, power, strength. If we could break the bad habit on our own, we probably never would have developed it in the first place!
As Christians, as soon as we repent the Holy Spirit enters us to be our encourager and guide and to offer us strength through the sacrifice of Christ. Individual determination will only take us so far in our attempt. To stay the course we need God to actually change us. We can only accomplish the real and difficult work of repentance by focusing on God and turning over our desire for change to Him.
This year let's not focus on how flawed, imperfect and lacking we are as spouses, parents, children, siblings, friends, employees, employers . . . men and women. This year resolve to be God's Marvelous Man or God's Wonder Woman. Ask God to do in you the deep, cleansing work you long for Him to do in order to become the person He designed you to be.
Vacuum less and read the Bible more. Give up working through lunch and spend time walking or reading. Let your kids dress themselves in mismatched clothes once in a while so you can spend a few minutes alone with God. Take your kids to the park rather than watch sports on television all weekend. Breathe. Pray. Laugh. Love. Breathe again. Pray some more.
He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. [Ephesians 2:7-9 NASB]
This is a repost from Associated Content. I have over 130 articles there on various subjects if you're interested, click here.