I stopped making new years resolutions many years ago. Within the framework of making resolutions I realised that I am guilty of regularly making and breaking new and old ones every day. And so my reasoning is that why make a big thing of making new resolutions based on ones emotional state at the time. And simply put, I discovered that I am incapable of keeping any resolutions I make in my own power.
In 2007 I made the plan to go into the army reserves with the aim of becoming a reservist chaplain. Only late that year I became disabled and hospitalised. Now granted not all of our resolutions and plans are thwarted in such a spectacular fashion. Often its something far smaller and less dramatic which causes their downfall. It could be as simple as memory failure. Peer group pressure. Or perhaps if the truth be told, we didn’t really mean what we resolved to do in the first place.
Scripture encourages us not to say “We are going to do this, or we are going to do that…” instead, it encourages us to say “If the Lord permits” or “The Lord willing.” We / I will do this. Scripture also encourages us not to make vows. For we are incapable of naturally changing the colour of our hair. Making it rain or shine. We cannot guarantee our own employment or financial security. Nor can we control what others say or do. And within that context we struggle to even control what it is we say or do. Simply put we are encouraged to simply say yes or no, and let our yes be yes and our no be no. Anything else comes from the evil one. So as we come to the end of the year and start to think about the new year, think about all the resolutions you made during the year. How many of them have you kept. Can you even remember the one or ones you made last year for this year?
Within a Christian context we often tell God we will do better next time. We promise that we will behave better. Speak better. Think better. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Witness more. Go to church more. Get involved more.. do more.. … …
The reality is that our making resolutions is like the man caught in quick sand saying he can pull himself out by his ears. Or he can jump out by cupping his hands under his foot and boosting himself out. Because Christianity is not about what we are going to do for God. Its about what God has already done for us. It’s about what God is doing through us. In us. Over us. For us. And therefore our prayer can only be, God, use us. Use me.
And so instead of making a resolution this year. Simply say to God. “Thank you for all you have done for me, in me, through me, over me, around me.” And continue to ask him to to use you every day and step out every day confident that he will indeed be working through you, over you, in your and around you – possibly in many ways you never imagined.