Don’t Give Up on God!

Resolutions, meaning a firm decision to do, or not do something, can be made any time, but we typically associate them with the first of the year. This is really nothing new, as ancient cultures seem to have viewed the beginning of the new year, whenever that was for them, as a time for starting over. History seems to trace the roots of making resolutions at that time of year to the Babylonians, whose favorite was returning borrowed farming implements.

For us in the United States, the top resolutions are exercising more and losing weight, which seems appropriate after all the eating that happens earlier during the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is followed by traveling, making more money, making new friends, finding a new job or hobby, and other types of pursuits. Of course, 36% of these resolutions are broken during the first month, and 54% are abandoned by six months. Statistics also show that the older one gets, the less likely any will get done. Only 14% of people over 50 achieve their goals, while 39% of people in their 20’s do.

So, why do we desire to make changes, but tend to fail to follow through? The desire to change, to improve oneself, isn’t bad, no matter when the decision is made. To make any really permanent life changes, two things must be present. First, along with the desire, there must be a plan. Whatever the goal may be, how do you intend to go about reaching it? Don’t try to do it all in one step. Established habits won’t be changed overnight; it takes progressive steps to make it from one step to the next. Make sure your plan is practical, manageable, and verifiable.

Along with this, there has to be a genuine commitment from within to do it. Any change to start or stop something comes from a decision one has obligated oneself to make. It will take one’s will, emotions, all that makes one who one is from within, working in harmony, to succeed. Having a good support group certainly helps, and seeking wisdom and strength from God is a positive element to rely on. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Prov. 16:9).

The application from the physical realm to the spiritual is obvious. Making spiritual changes, I believe, are harder than any other, because Satan and the world seek to conform us to the image of sin (Rom. 12:2a). We are not encouraged by them to make such changes, and the delusion to not change is reinforced by the view that our attitudes and behavior are nonissues to God. Nothing is further from the truth. We are to be moving ever closer to the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Sin destroys (Matt. 25:41), but God transforms (Rom. 12:2b). The habits of sin can be hard to break, but supporting each other, and finding support and strength in Christ, we can succeed (Phil. 4:13). Our “want to” must be real enough to motivate us to keep moving forward in our Lord, if we will make any real changes, and make them last.

God loves us too much for us to let us stay the same, to face judgment condemned. He is for us, seen in all we have in Christ (Rom. 8:31-32). He provides everything we need in Christ, but it is up to us to work with Him in making positive changes for life (Phil. 2:12-13). Don’t allow the world to distract you from being what you not only should be, but in Christ, can be! Working together in the strength of the Lord, God can accomplish much in and through us, transforming us for eternity. May 2019 be a great year for each of us, as we allow Christ His part in our lives.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Robert Johnson