With a new year comes hopes for the year to come. Often at this time of year people make resolutions. We say to ourselves, “This is the year — the year that I’m going to actually achieve what I’ve been putting off for so long. I’m going to run that marathon, read that book, learn to bake. I’m going to watch less Netflix! I’m going to watch more Netflix!”
I’m not a New Year’s resolution kind-of-guy. I think if you want to make a change, why wait for a particular time of year to start? However, there’s incredible value in making resolutions. A resolution is a firm and determined decision to do something, to behave in a certain manner, to abide by certain principles. A resolution is a way of saying, “I see something in my life that needs to change, and this is what I’m going to do about it.”
Now that we’ve raised the topic, what’s something about yourself that you want to be changed in 2021? I’m not asking about fitness or career goals. I’m more interested in spiritual and character goals. In last Sunday’s sermon, I suggested that when God told Joshua to obey all the Law that he gave Moses (Joshua 1:7), God is most interested in our obedience. God measures our success by our personal holiness and devotion to him.
Making resolutions to change is a very Christian thing. The Apostle Paul tells the Colossians that we must put off the old self and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (Col. 3:9-10). We’re supposed to identify areas in our lives that don’t honour God or serve our neighbour, and to get rid of them.
As you begin to think about the change that’s needed in your life, maybe you also realise that you need help. Resolutions are either forgotten, failed, or followed. How do we get the help that we need so that our resolutions are followed and don’t fail? First, we need the help of the Holy Spirit to bring about this inward renewal, so pray for God’s help. Second, we need the help of one another; other Christians who walk with us, who we can confess to, pray with, and encourage us along the way. Make sure you’re connected with other Christians.
It’s one thing making a resolution, it’s another matter taking the necessary steps to follow through. And in everything, we rely on the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.