Looking for a different and more effective approach to making New Year resolutions? You’ve come to the right place.
Making New Year resolutions isn’t nearly as difficult as keeping them. Most of our “resolves” typically fall by the wayside just days into the New Year! As one wag observed, “Resolutions go in one year and come out the next.”
This year the challenge of making resolutions is made greater by the ongoing impact of the global pandemic. It turned 2020 into a truly “unprecedented year,” wiped our calendars clean, and made the future more uncertain and life less predictable than ever.
In the face of such challenges, what should be our approach to making resolutions? In view of the naked uncertainty that COVID-19 has thrust upon us, should we even be making any this time round?
Resolutions During Times of Crisis
Ironically, experience teaches us that resolutions are all the more important during times of crisis. If ever was a time we need to firmly resolve, it is now.
What we need is a different approach to making resolutions. I’m pleased to pass along some good advice I came across several years ago, offered by Bob Lapine, co-host of Family Life Today’s radio program. Essentially, he urges us to forget the usual self-help approach such as exercise, diet, weight loss, etc., and focus instead on resolutions targeted to the overarching elements of our faith—the Lordship of Christ, confession, repentance, and the truths of the gospel.
This is not to suggest that diet and exercise aren’t important. As Christ’s followers we should be stewards of our time, talents and treasures, including our bodies and what we put in them. But as Lapine emphasizes, goals set in these areas are more likely to be achieved when we focus on those issues that are central to our Christian experience.
Put Jesus in His Rightful Place
Lapine’s counsel makes sense. When Jesus is in His rightful place in our lives, everything else falls into place — when He is out of place, so is everything else. When knowing and loving Him is our aim, loving and serving others is so much easier. Living open-faced before Him—in confession and repentance—the potential for holiness increases, and in re-believing the gospel, we’re less prone to wander, and more empowered to live above the tyranny of things.
In other words, the outcome of our resolutions has everything to do with where the emphasis is placed, and this approach ensures that our motivation is the glory of God, not just our personal fancies.
Approaching resolutions from this perspective, we can step into the New Year with a certain measure of confidence despite its unknowns and uncertainties.
Resolved to Walk by Faith
Like the prophet Habakkuk who, wrestling with the perplexities of God’s seeming indifference toward Judah’s national crisis, protested and complained and eventually resolved to walk by faith and trust God’s sovereignty, we can confidently declare:
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NKJV).
What Will 2021 Be Like?
So what will 2021 be like? We can’t know for sure. But each New Year holds out the possibility that it can be different than the one before, that life can be more meaningful, that we can face the future, one day at a time.
So as you step into this New Year, may you find a renewed capacity for hopeful and purposeful living, inspired by resolutions anchored in the overarching elements of your faith, even in the midst of a multi-layered global crisis. Living this way, you won’t need to worry about getting the resolution blues!
Happy New Year!
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- Have questions about how you fit into Christian leadership? Check out these resources:
- Feed My Sheep - December 17, 2021
- What it takes to Grow People Spiritually: Reflecting on Dallas Willard’s not so surprising strategy - December 14, 2021
- Faithful to the Vision - October 22, 2021