Are you a resolution-making kind of person?
It’s actually quite compatible with matters of faith.
It took an empty stomach and a nasty pigpen, but the runaway son finally recognized the decision he needed to make: “I will arise and go to my father . . .” (Luke 15:18).
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”—Joshua’s famous resolution—has stirred many of us with its power and simplicity.
So if you’re planning to make a commitment or two today, particularly faith-based commitments, you’re on pretty good biblical ground.
But you may be like many of us.
In past years you’ve made them with gusto and broken them by March.
Ever bought a One-Year Daily Bible and gotten bogged down by Deuteronomy in mid-February?
Welcome to the crowd.
But it can go better this year . . . here are three things that will help:
1. Trust in the power of God. You don’t have enough self-discipline, and neither do I. We just don’t, and we never will. But thankfully, it’s not up to us. “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Admit to God that you simply don’t have the ability to make lasting change in yourself without his help. Ask him to empower you through his Spirit to do what he wills. That’s where the real power lies. Pray that prayer today . . . and every day.
2. Commit small changes to God. God could—if he chose—make you into a spiritual giant by this time tomorrow, but that’s not the way he works. Abraham’s walk with God was decades old by the time he displayed amazing faith in offering Isaac. God had been working on Moses for about 80 years before he finally sent him to Egypt to become Israel’s leader. So recognize that you’re not going to be a Bible scholar or a willing Christian martyr in a few months. Begin with small changes, like committing to spend 15 minutes every morning with the Lord, or read two Bible chapters a day, or encourage three people every week with a note or call. Commit to small changes, and write them down.
3. Be specific. “I’m going to pray more” and “I’m going to be more faithful” sound good, but they’re not helpful. The commitments you make need to be measurable in some way; you should be able to know whether or not you fulfilled them. “I will serve at a homeless shelter once every three months” is workable, but “I’m going to help the poor more this year” isn’t.
It’s exciting, isn’t it?
Another year lies ahead, and it’s neat to think about what God might do in us and in the world in the next 12 months.
Let’s get off to a good start. Let’s commit ourselves to submitting to God so that he will do in us what he wants to do.
If that happens, it’ll certainly be a good year.