Let's Rethink New Years Resolutions

Let’s admit it. This is the time of the year we think about New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions offer the promise of a new beginning. People look at their lives and resolve to do better…in all kinds of areas. I am going to spend more time with family. I am going to start having a quiet time. I am going to start going to church. I am going to quit smoking. I am going to start working out. I am going to lose weight.

I heard about a wife who saw her husband on New Year’s Day standing on a weight scale with his belly pulled in. She said, “It won’t do you any good to suck your stomach in.” He said, “Yes it will—because that’s the only way I can see the scale.”

We make resolutions in many areas of life but the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is sticking with them. There is an old Irish toast: “May all of your troubles in the New Year be as short as your New Year’s Resolutions.”

Whoever came up with that one knew something about human nature and how hard it is for us to make permanent changes in our lives. We intend one thing and then do another thing. It is like the Apostle Paul who said, “The things I intend to do I don’t do…” (Romans 7:19). Also, we say one thing and then do another thing. We are like Peter who promised Jesus, “I’ll not deny you…” (Matthew 26:35).

Author Fred Craddock wrote: “I am crucified between the sky of what I intend and the earth of what I perform.” Such is our curse! We sacrifice so much between the sky of our intentions and the ground of our actions!

That is why I am suggesting a new strategy. Why not try this: Give up on New Year’s Resolutions and switch to New Year’s Devotions! Here is why: Resolutions are shallow and superficial. Devotions are deeper and more lasting. Devotions are decisions that come from the heart. Significant life changes must come from the heart. The writer of Proverbs said, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus said, “Out of the heart proceeds all things…” (Matthew 15:18). Real life changes must come with the full weight of our inner person and be empowered by the Holy Spirit (who lives in the heart of all believers). Only through devotions of the heart will there come radical changes in the life.

So before 2024 kicks in, get alone with God (in your devotional time), spend time communing with Him, listen to His promptings, and then make devotions of the heart! Every day with God in this New Year will give you the opportunity to renew your devotions to Him and be strengthened in them. If you will honor Him in this way, He will surely empower you to fulfill His ways. For the coming year—make it New Year’s Devotions!

Devotedly yours,
Pastor Ron

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