I don’t know your opinion on New Year’s resolutions; it’s not something I generally do, at least not officially. I mean, I have enough guilt on my own, thank you very much. I don’t need yet another reminder of my failures to live up to expectations, even if those expectations are my own. However, like most of us, I can’t help turning the page to a new year without considering how it might be different, how I might be different.
I’ve often wondered what it is about the transition from December 31 to January 1 that prompts such introspection, such desire to be better and do better, such resolve for change. I mean, really, don’t get wrong, I need to work out. But I need it just as much in September as I do in January, if not more so.
Most resolutions, or most of mine, both the official and the vaguer, unofficial variety, consist of some sort of behavior modification. For many years, my single resolution was to go to bed with a clean kitchen. Still working on that. I may resolve to work out or read the Bible through in a year or some other necessary remedy to a glaring character flaw. The problem with all this resolution to change what I do or don’t do or ought to do is that I can’t do any of it. I may start strong but it never lasts. Never. Do yours?
That’s how it is when our focus is on our behavior. Those kinds of resolutions, though certainly good and worthy goals, force my self preoccupation. The end result of seeking only to alter my behavior is pride. I either succeed and think I’m the greatest ever (speaking theoretically) or, as is most often the case, I fail, miserably so and I hate myself. Either way, I’m consumed with myself which is, ultimately, pride. And pride, whether it manifests itself in how great I am or how not-great I am, is never, ever satisfied.
Are we not to resolve? This morning I’ve been pondering this from John Piper concerning resolutions. Consider 2 Thess. 1:11-12 and see the kind of resolutions that please God:
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Resolving for good, to walk more worthily of His calling. Depending by faith on His power. All with one singular desire: so that the name of Jesus may be glorified. When we resolve like this, trusting in the power of Jesus, Jesus is glorified! Depending on myself only glorifies myself. Knowing I can’t, acknowledging my insufficiency, and yielding to Him in absolute surrender and total desperation–herein are the kind of resolves that are good.
I am resolved.