As quickly as it began, 2010 is coming to an end, and as with most years, we are confronted with the newfound sense of optimism that always comes with the New Year. For most of us, the New Year isn’t just a calendar change, but it carries with is an aura of new life and new opportunity. The failures and fears of the last year are officially past, and we can move on. For many of us, this hopefulness is all tied up in the New Year’s Resolution.
Now I know that many people with cringe at the mention of resolutions. This has become the annual joke for many of us, laughing about them at Christmas parties or making joking posts, like the “resolutions” of prominent Christian leaders posted on thee @Xianity twitter page. But if those of us who make the jokes were honest about it, alongside our jokes, we also tend to make resolutions, even if we don’t call them by that name.
We make them because despite the fact that it is culturally cliche to do so, we know that making a commitment to spend our lives more wisely – taking better care of our health, budgeting better, or furthering our education – is something worth doing. In fact, if it is a commitment to something more God-honoring, it is not only a good thing, but it is a biblical thing.
Throughout the Bible believer’s are called and challenged to do everything they can to walk in godliness. We are told to desire and pursue a relationship with God; to strive at good works which evidence our faith, and to encourage others in this journey. There are even specific examples of “resolutions” in scripture, such as Daniel 1:8 – “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”
So my challenge to you a a Christian is not if you will make a resolution. At some point you will find it necessary to. But my challenge is will you take this opportunity to reflect on the past year, and to resolve to do better in the next. Will you resolve yourself to seek God more and to strive to live the life he asks of you.
For me, I am resolving to do three things personally. This year I am resolved to maintain a regular journal. I have made attempts at this before, but found it very difficult. Lately, however, I find myself thinking about things or making decisions in my life that will definitely set the path of my future, so I am going to try again.
I am also resolving to blog at least weekly. I made this same commitment last year, but as I prepared to travel to Africa and do various other things, I found it harder and harder to maintain. But this year I will re-commit because writing helps me to organize my own thoughts and beliefs. Hopefully you can find encouragement in what I write as well, but primarily, I am the one who gains the most out of it. It is a place for me to form my own thinking, and analyze the practical applications.
And finally, I am resolving to read two books a month. With my current work schedule, this is very possible, but will take discipline to do so. I am committing to a read one book that will challenge me with the Gospel and theologically, and one book that will build my character and leadership strengths, whether ministry philosophy books or books such as biographies or Christian history.
Now I will be the first to admit that the likeliness of all three of these things happening is slim, but right now I have determined that it is worth the effort to try. Hopefully, even if you are one who makes jokes or is pessimistic about new year’s resolutions, you will at least see the benefits of the effort. So what will you resolve to do? I hope you will make a commitment as well, and feel free to share in the comments section.