The beginning of a new year is usually a time for making resolutions; setting up goals to be reached in the new year. For some people, however, the making of resolutions is a futile endeavour because their resolutions never go beyond the planning stage, as they are not acted on.
One January, some years ago, I made a simple resolution to complete reading the entire Bible in a year, like what I had done many years before during my student days at the university and also at the Bible college. Lo and behold, it would be three years down the road that I completed reading the entire Bible. Perhaps, New Year resolutions should be called “January resolutions”.
Without any accompanying action, the making of a resolution is a futile endeavour. On the other hand, not making any resolution because one is reluctant to act on it is just as bad. It is the responsibility of every believer to grow spiritually so that he or she can bear the fruit of the Spirit. This is a divine calling we have to fulfil. It should not just be pursuant to a resolution that we make at the beginning of the year, but one in which we have to resolve to do all the time. Therefore, whenever we feel or see something we ought to do but we are not doing it, we should resolve to do it. Conversely, whenever we feel or see something we ought not to do but we are doing it, we should resolve not to do it. God does not like our hearts to be irresolute.
In 1722, Jonathan Edwards came up with a list of 70 resolutions, resolving to live in harmony with God and man, which goes to show how seriously he took his relationship with God to be. Here are some of his 70 resolutions:
- To do whatever is most to God’s glory
- To do my duty, for the good of mankind in general
- Never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life
- Never do anything, which if I saw another do, I would consider a just reason to despise him for, or to think in any way lesser of him.
- To study the Scriptures steadily, constantly, and so frequently
- To ask myself at the end of every day, week, month, and year if I could possibly have done better
- Until I die, not to act as if I were my own, but entirely and altogether God’s.
Our resolution to follow God is not just a casual promise but it is a solemn and serious declaration that we can fulfil, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:11-12).