The new year is often a time where we make resolutions. These are usually practices or habits that we know will be good for us and we would like to try and accomplish, and the new year seems like a good time to start fresh and make some new goals. These are often things like a new diet or workout routine, a new reading plan, business or individual goals, etc.
While many of us make resolutions each year, fewer of us keep them or see them to completion. There are many reasons for this, and lots of them are valid. A lot can happen in a year! One of the main reasons many new years' resolutions don't succeed is that we fail to put in steps, or a process, to see a resolution come to fruition. It is easy to say I am going to read the Bible all the way through in 2023. But if I don't pick a plan and map out the day-to-day amounts to be read, it is almost a guarantee that I won't follow through with that new resolution.
We can very easily drift toward laziness and sin, but we never drift toward discipline or holiness. Our hearts are sinful, turned in toward ourselves. Habits, whether spiritual, physical, or otherwise, are developed through consistent and daily discipline. One small step each day gets you miles down the road several years later.
One man who made some famous resolutions was Jonathan Edwards. Prior to his 20th birthday, he wrote down 70 resolutions that he committed to for the rest of his life. These weren't so much goals to accomplish something, but lifestyle habits he wanted to be part of who he was. Two have always stood out to me:
- 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 myriad’s of ages hence
This was his overall life mission - to always do, in every situation, whatever would bring God the most glory and Him the most joy. The secret he learned that if he did something ultimately for God's glory, it was always for his joy.
- Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same
He desired to study and know the Scriptures as well as he possible could, because this is where true joy and life are found.
If you have made resolutions this year, work hard to put a process into place to see them succeed. If you didn't, might I suggest resolving to live by two of Edwards' resolutions above? If you do this, I think you will look back in December 2023 and see a life well lived for the glory of God, the good of others, and joy for yourself.