A Believer’s Resolve – New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions are being made. After all, its New Years and that is what we do. We are committed and determined to accomplish them with every ounce of human ability that is within us. We write them down. We set achievable goals to step us toward success. We begin the process to achieve success – to become that better person that everyone expects us to be. For the first 2-3 months, we often find success. We are accomplishing what we set out to do with much fervor. Then, before you know it, it’s the holidays again, and we find ourselves looking back wondering what happened to the resolutions. Where did we sidestep? When did we take that first bite of junk food? When did we start hitting the snooze button multiple times only to find no time left to hit the gym? When did bible reading and memorization weasel its way out of our busy schedules? What happened to all those great things we were going to do to better ourselves so that God would be pleased?
I don’t know about you, but I have found myself in this spot more times than I really wish to admit. We try and try only to discover failure over and over again. But herein lies the problem: we strive in our own strength for our own glory – painful to think about, but true all the same. However, are resolutions bad? No. I am not saying that at all. But often at the root of these resolutions is our pride – the promotion of self. Sure, we cloak it in “God terms” but in the end, it only produces, at best [even when achieved], promotion of self. For the believer, this is not what he or she strives for. We live for something bigger and far more magnificent. We make resolutions, but we make them from a different perspective – from a different motivation.
As I think on the idea of New Year’s resolutions, there are some basic and profound things from God’s word that I think we should remember when making “New Year’s Resolutions”. We find such convicting yet reassuring truth in Philippians 2 so let’s take a look.
First and foremost, as a believer, you can do nothing apart from the grace of God. We have been saved by grace and so we are sanctified by grace. Scripture tells us: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” [James 4:6 ESV] Yes, we are to “work out our own salvation” but don’t forget that it is “God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” [Phil. 2:12&13 ESV] Remember this: you can do NOTHING apart from God’s grace.
Secondly, if we can do nothing apart from God’s grace then it must not be about us. It’s all about Christ. It is for His glory that we breathe and move. It is for His glory alone that we live. As its states in Philippians 2, it is for “His good pleasure”. We were created for the pleasure and glory of God. We were redeemed and made new for the pleasure and glory of God. Revelation 4:11 sums it up beautifully: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” [ESV]
So as you make your “New Year’s Resolutions” remember that they are a resolve to glorify our great God. I am not sure that we can say that Paul is speaking of “New Year’s Resolutions” in Philippians 2. But, he is telling us to “work out our own salvation”. We can’t just sit around. We are to be about our heavenly Father’s business. We are to be as Timothy and “fight the good fight of faith”. But never forget that it is through His grace for His glory that we strive. This resolve is a lifelong pursuit. Any striving not found through and in the person of Jesus Christ is at best striving that will amount to complete and utter failure. It will find you looking back asking: “What went wrong?” But, a life lived for the glory of a sovereign, holy, yet loving God– now there is something worth a believer’s resolve.