New Year’s Resolutions for Believers

*Posted by Joe Wooddell

Dictionary.comdefines resolution as a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something; determining upon an action or course of action; firmness of purpose. The idea, it seems to me, is commitment. Should believers make New Years resolutions? Why not? What better time than the New Year to resolve or determine to do something, to determine upon a course of action with firmness of purpose? The Bible is full of people making commitments or resolutions, and we are commanded to say yes, yes, or no, no, and to be faithful (Mt. 5:37).

Zaccheus resolved to give half his possessions to the poor, to pay back four times what he had stolen, and Jesus commended him (Lk. 19). David resolved to build a house for the Lord (2 Sam. 7; Ps. 132), and God was pleased (1 Kgs. 8:18). Esther resolved whether she lived or died to petition the king, and ended up saving the Jews (Es. 4:16). Job resolved both to trust God and to argue with Him, even if it cost him everything (Job 13:15), and in the end he was changed for the better. Jesus resolved three times in Gethsemane to go to the Cross and drink the cup the Father had for Him (Mt. 26), regardless of Peter (Mt. 16:22) and Satan (Mt. 4) having tempted Him toward other ends. The Bible says, Commit your way to the Lord (Ps. 37:5). Jesus did it, and so should we.

Humans are free creatures. We are free to choose whether to do a thing or not. God has commanded certain things, we are free to respond or not, and we are held responsible for our decisions. All of us have areas which need improvement. Take inventory, resolve to do better, and be specific. Not in a legalistic sense. Dont get the idea that by your own will power you will buck up and finally read your Bible for six hours a day, then God will love you more. Dont do it to earn His favor; thats impossible. And dont try to hike Everest when youve been sitting on the couch for three months.

Instead pray, read Gods Word, consult with trusted, godly friends, and ask God to guide you toward this years resolution. Then do it, resolve it, tell a trusted friend and ask him or her to pray for you. It might be tithing, having a quiet time, or regularly attending church. It might be confessing a particular, besetting sin and seeking biblical counsel. It might involve fasting from television, video games, or Coke for a time, trusting God to meet the need youre trying to fill with those things, and using the time and money saved for some better purpose. Maybe youll read through the entire Bible for the first time in your life. None of this will make God love you more, and you might modify and adapt your plan over time. There is, however, no good reason why believers should not use the turn of a new year as an opportunity for sanctification. As we do so by Gods grace Satan is thwarted, the Holy Spirit guides and helps, Jesus is magnified, and Gods Kingdom is advanced one life and one decision at a time.

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