Most New Year’s Resolutions may be reduced to wishes that next year will be better than last year. At least that is what my annual weight-loss, book-reading, and money-saving resolutions amount to.
The new year is the time when we assess the past and figure out what we want to change. Then, we do our best to make a statement about the change we want. And finally, we try harder, for at least a while.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Anyone can do that. Some can even do better. They actually set goals they achieve!
In other words, for all the prayer, reflection and meditation that Christians put into their goal setting, the goals themselves look very much like goals that any one, regardless of their beliefs, could set. If a New Year’s Resolution itself is void of belief, or indistinct with regard to its relation to Christ, where is the glory for Christ in that? What would be God’s motivation for aiding us in that endeavor?
What would a distinctly Christian New Year’s Resolution look like? One way of looking at it would be this: A Christian New Year’s Resolution is one an unconverted person would never attempt!
This would include two sorts of resolutions:
- First, the content of the resolution itself would be something that no unconverted person would be interested in attempting. Reading the Bible through in a year, for instance, or give away more than a tithe of your income. Why would an unconverted person attempt that? While I can conceive of reasons, but the reality is that the resolution itself requires motivation that comes from grace or else it will be almost impossible to stick with
- Second, the resolution is so audacious and aims so clearly for glory to God that to attempt it under your own power, like the resolutions listed above would be ridiculous. Goals, or resolutions, like leading two friends to Christ, establishing three neighborhood Bible studies, or starting a church, cannot successfully be completed without grace from outside. If God works, those things might happen. If God doesn’t work, it won’t matter how much I work, because those require some level of supernatural power.
While I don’t want people to be fat, or waste money, or never read a book, I can’t help but wonder, what would 2013 look like if we had more distinctly Christian goals? What if we used our New Year’s Resolutions to ratchet up our God-dependence rather than our self-dependence?