Resolution — decision: a firm decision to do something; determination: firmness of mind or purpose; solution: an answer to a problem [definition from Bing Dictionary]
Okay, it started out as a joke. Like many (most, all?) people, I always had trouble keeping a New Year’s Resolution. Losing weight, exercising, finishing a project, or whatever – I had good intentions but just could not keep it. Finally I heard someone mention their New Year’s Resolution: never to make another New Year’s Resolution. Now that’s one I could keep, and I have.
But that does not mean that I do not make resolutions; just that the rules have changed for me. Here’s a handy hint to make good ones: GROW UP.
G — Go to God First. Involve God in every part of the process. Sometimes I think, “Duh, why didn’t I ask God what I should do? Why didn’t I ask Him for the help to do it?” “This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:27
Unfortunately I tend to forget to ask Him until I fail miserably. But if He was willing to die for me, I can certainly trust Him to have my best interests in mind. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
R – Right Now. Timing is important. If there is something worth doing, do it now; do not wait for the New Year. But be aware that sometimes it is best to wait, depending on the circumstances. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes. 3:1
O – Organize a Plan. Pick your priorities and plan how to achieve them. One goal may be good, but something else may be the best. I cannot do everything, so I try to work on the most important. This step has always been difficult for me – I have a very long ‘wish list.’ But Jesus said the first priority is to love God and serve Him. So although I sometimes lose sight of this goal, I try to make God’s priorities mine. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
W – Watch Out for Obstacles. Some things will prevent me from achieving my goals. I must anticipate such traps. Certain attitudes, activities, behaviors and hang-ups are triggers for me, so I plan ahead to avoid them as much as possible. For example, I should not sabotage myself by bringing chocolate home if I want to lose weight. “Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.” Proverbs 4:13-15
U – Use a Support Group. I do not know about you, but I really need an accountability partner or group. They can give encouragement, motivate me not to fudge because I know they will ask me about my progress, pick me up and dust me off when I fall, and celebrate the victory with me. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 “He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.” Proverbs 15:32
P – Patient Perseverance. Be diligent and stick with the plan. I must not give up when (not if) I blow it. Growth is a process. Babies fall when learning to walk, but get back up and go again. I must do the same and not get too quickly discouraged. The Apostle Paul certainly knew the discipline necessary to achieve his goal: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Have you ever kept a New Year’s Resolution? What helped you to do it?
Have you ever failed to keep one? Why? What can you do differently next time?
What resolutions does God want you to make now? How will you plan to do this?