You have probably been asked numerous times about your New Year’s Resolutions, by now. Have you given any thought to what yours might be? Many people find it difficult to define and refine these. To be sure, it is quite common to struggle with this annual ritual of resolution making and, according to the experts, resolution breaking. Some estimate that more than two thirds of those who do make annual resolutions do not keep them.
This can become quite frustrating. Many have simply given up on the practice of outlining goals for the New Year. Others go through the motions in response to peer pressure. But, they have no real resolve to follow through on the priorities listed. Nevertheless, there is great value is fashioning a strategic plan for growth and development. Many years ago, at the age of 19, a young man named James made the following resolutions:
— Resolved, never to speak ill of an individual but to call to mind my own sins and imperfections and be silent.
— Resolved, when my heart feels cold and languid, to strive earnestly in prayer to God for deliverance from such a state and for the abiding influence of His Holy Spirit; and to inquire into the causes which have produced this effect upon me and to guard against them in the future.
— Resolved, never to go to bed without having endeavored to learn something more of God as He is revealed in the Holy Scriptures than I knew when I rose in the morning.
— Resolved, to keep in mind during the business of the day the good resolutions which I may have formed for my assistance so that if I neglect them, I may humble myself and in my retirement earnestly seek pardon from God.
— Resolved, to say nothing to irritate the feelings of anyone and especially of my relations and friends.
— Resolved, to leave as soon as possible any company which might draw off my thoughts from the things of eternity.
— Resolved, never to neglect to devote a certain portion of every twenty-four hours to secret meditation and prayer.
— Resolved, never to halt in doing anything of which I am convinced that it is duty.” (Tan, P. L., Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations)
What became of this young man and his resolve? He is known to us as Dr. James Clement Furman, founder and first president of Furman University. Indeed, God’s blessings are promised to those who conceive of and commit their plans to the Lord. This is underscored in Proverbs 16:3 which states: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Have you prayerfully considered making New Year’s resolutions this year? It can be rewarding. More importantly, this can help us experience a closer walk with God and greater fruitfulness as followers of Jesus. If you feel God prompting you to make resolutions this year, you might find the following biblical perspectives to be helpful:
1) With regards to life in general and the daily choices that we must make, consider Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
2) When it comes to our dealings with family members, fellow Christians, friends, and co-workers, reflect on Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
3) As it relates to our personal integrity, spiritual development and sacrificial service, think about Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good pleasing and perfect will.”
4) With respect to every aspect of life and in view of the vastness of eternity, Colossians 3:23-24 is worth considering: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
© Bill Williams, December 27, 2006
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