New Year is the traditional time for making resolutions. Ninety percent of Americans make them. As we end one year and begin another, it seems appropriate to promise ourselves that we will break a bad habit or begin a good one.
However, seventy-eight percent of those who do make resolutions fail to keep them. Half-hearted attempts at reformation are seldom successful. Tongue-in-cheek resolutions soon wither on the vine and die.
The Bible takes resolutions seriously. To make a resolution is to reach a decision, to decide in one’s own mind, to purpose, to intend, to be devoted to principle and committed to a course of action.
In that sense, Jan. 1 is no different than Dec. 31, or any other day. Yet, Jan. 1 seems to be a good time for reflecting on where we’ve been and where we want to go.
Timeless resolutions are offered by three of my Biblical heroes: David, Jehoshaphat, and Daniel. These are resolutions I have adopted for 2012. I challenge you along the same lines.
Among many other things that David, King of Israel in the 10th century BC, says to God, he proclaims, “Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me you will find nothing. I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.”
He knows what Jesus will later reiterate in Matthew 12.34: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
This same truth is put in proverb form in this way: “Guard your thoughts carefully; they may burst into words at any moment.”
Jehoshaphat is King of Judah in the ninth century BC. When surrounded by their enemies, “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord . . . The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord.”
Let us resolve to turn to the Lord for help in our time of need, so that he will hear our prayers and deliver us from evil.
Daniel lived in the sixth century BC, a virtual slave of the enemy Babylonians. Tempted to compromise his beliefs, Daniel 1.8 reports, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine . . .”
Let us resolve not to defile ourselves in any way. Let us resolve to take our stand against secular humanism. Let us refuse to compromise ourselves before the gods of this world. Let us resolve to remain faithful to our beliefs based on the Word of God.
Let us resolve to fulfill the admonition of Colossians 3.17, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through him.”
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. With God’s help and your determination, today can be your day of new beginnings!