On New Year’s eve, I titled my post “Looking back; looking forward.” The last year has been great, but 2017 is shaping up to be even better. However, because it’s a new year, we all know what that means – it’s time to make some new years resolutions… resolutions which we will all fail to keep!
Something I have been learning for a few years now is that ultimately, these are a massive waste of time. Most of us think to form a new resolution (or a couple of them) every new year but how many of us ever actually complete them?
Rarely have I completed a resolution I set out to complete at the start of the year. Not only do we not succeed in bring our resolutions to completion but we feel like failures because no matter how hard we try we cannot bring it to fruition.
This year and for the years to come, I want to commit to something different. Because I so often fail to keep yearly resolutions, I feel it would be beneficial to bring in the idea of a life resolution. Something that progresses over time and will be useful for my entire life, not just for a single year. Thanks for this post idea must be levelled towards the writers at the Gospel Coalition – New Years Resolutions: Aim for Godliness and God’s Glory and to Jonathan Edwards, 18th-century writer and pastor and his 70 life resolutions (thanks DesiringGod.org for your useful list and thematic grouping of these).
Especially considering the path my life is heading this year, this will be as important as ever. For anyone not yet in the loop, 2017 is guaranteed to be a big year for me; I shall hopefully be heading to Asia in June / July (currently in the application process) for a period of 6 months, in which time I will be serving alongside a missions organisation teaching English and basic computer skills to children, learning language and culture and stepping far outside of my comfort zone.
Edwards at the beginning of his 70 resolutions notes the following: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.”
Therefore, I am
- Resolved, as a man of God, to pursue the trait of godliness by the growth of the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.
- Resolved, regardless of where I live, to live humbly in light of the glory of Christ and to be all there for the sake of His glorious name.
- Resolved, knowing where I am going this year, to live as an ambassador of Christ both at home and abroad, to be a conduit of the truth of the gospel, living in the light of the resurrection and being undaunted by the darkness of this world.
- Resolved, knowing the sovereign character of God, who holds all the universe together to never fear, to be undaunted and to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit when all seems hopeless and dark.
- Resolved, as a child of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, to take up the fight against sin and Satan in my own life and in this world, for my good and for His glory.
- Resolved, in view of my relationship with Christ, to endeavour to take a hold of spiritual disciplines, including prayer, worship, scripture reading, serving, to name a few to grow closer in relationship to God, grow in godliness and seek His face.
- Resolved, to live outside of my comfort zone, continuously stepping out in faith to do things which make me feel uncomfortable and powerless were it not for God.
- Resolved, knowing what I know about mission and social justice, to live a life of conviction tempered by action, making use of my time, resources and abilities to make a difference however possible for the glory of God and the good of others.
- Resolved, as a servant in the church, to serve in ministry diligently and to the best of my abilities, willingly giving up time, resources and energy to see children, youth and fellow church members encounter Jesus Christ personally.
This list of resolutions is by no means complete. I originally ended this post with only 6 resolutions, using 7 as a placeholder. I will revisit this throughout the year, at the beginning of next year and in the years to come, as a vessel for long and lasting change in my life. Should I think of a new resolution tomorrow, next week or next month, I shall return to add it in.
I personally believe that this is a much better way to think of resolutions. I’m not interested in a change for a year – I’m interested in a long-lasting, long-term change for the good of my entire life. This is a worthwhile goal not only for 2017 but worthwhile for far beyond.
I know I am not alone in my failure to complete new years resolutions. If you are like me, I would challenge you to think of ways you can transform your life long-term and resolve to do it. It’s unlikely to be achievable in just a year – but I have no doubt it will be worth it.
So I say with Jonathan Edwards, I humbly entreat God by His grace to enable me to keep resolutions I would make for my life, so long as they are agreeable to His will and magnify the glory of Christ.