So, are you still keeping your New Year’s Resolution(s)? Did you make any? Some Christians speak ill of making resolutions. But I don’t see all that much that is wrong with them. In fact, whenever New Years comes around, I cannot help but think of Paul’s words in Ephesians:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:15-16 ESV)
In his commentary on this passage Matthew Henry says, “Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future.” Isn’t this the very nature of a New Year’s resolution? To identify those areas of our life that we are not doing well in and resolve to do better in the coming year? As Christians, to do this for the glory of God?
Of course, the key to making resolutions is to make them and then work at keeping them. Many make great goals, but fail to make plans on how to get there.
Perhaps the greatest example to Christians on making resolutions was Jonathan Edwards. He made a series of resolutions at a young age, and then looked at the list everyday as a reminder of how he had resolved to live. Here is sample of some of his challenging resolutions:
1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.
43. Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.
48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of.
Even if you missed January 1 as your start date, think about making a resolution for the coming year. As you think about how God desires you to live, ask yourself ‘what areas of my life need work?’ Then make a plan, involving at the very least a reminder of your goal, Scripture reading, and prayer for God’s help to see your goal met. Sanctification is more than good planning, but it is not less than good planning. Holiness doesn’t happen by accident, you need a plan. So make one for the coming year – for your good and God’s glory.