Resolution Advice

It’s a new year. And since it is a new year, many of us are inclined to start some new “thing.” It is a good thing—to reach a firm decision about, to change, to declare, to decide, to resolve—to start something good. So, let’s do it! Here we go! 🏃‍♀️ Let’s all vow together to start one good thing today . . . or maybe tomorrow. 😬 But seriously, pick one thing that you wish to change/start and write it down. I’ll wait. 🙂. . .🙃. . . 😴. . .🤨. . . We’ll do it (whatever it is) together! Afterall, people will ask us about our New Year’s resolutions, and if we do not have at least one thing to declare, we might feel pressured to make something up! Or worse, become defensive and obnoxiously philosophical about the futility of all resolutions and discourage those who have already begun working on (or have definite intentions to work on) their resolutions. Please, I implore you: do not be that guy! 🙁

But let’s be honest. Why do many (most) resolutions fail? I think it is because we lose sight of the finish line, the possibility of actually succeeding! Instead, we quickly become discouraged. And we quit. It is easy to begin things; it is hard to complete them. A wise man (Solomon) once said, “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit than the proud in spirit.”1  Hmm. 🤔 Now that I think about it, those who begin things often boast of their new outlook or plan or goal that is going to absolutely improve and change and enhance their lives, don’t they? And sometimes we listen to them and think, Wow. I wish I could do that! 😕 But mostly we listen to them and think, Yeah, right. 🙄  

However . . . are we so cynical that we do not believe change is ever possible? I certainly hope not. But it is hard to change, and many of us are weary of listening to the promises of yet another thing that guarantees success. Some people do succeed, though. How do they do it? Read Solomon again: People who complete things are “patient in spirit.”1  They stick with the plan. They keep their eyes on the goal. They never lose sight of the end. So, let’s start there—with the end of something and work our way back to the beginning of it and figure out how some people do what God’s Word tells us to do over and over again; that is, “Do not be discouraged.”2

Peter wrote a letter to discouraged believers about how to persevere. At the end of his instructions, he concluded, “if you practice these qualities, you will never fall.”3  Hmm. 🤔 Never fall”? That sounds like one of those empty promises! 😒 However, since this is God’s Word, it cannot be empty! God’s promise is that everything that comes from him “shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”4  So, whatever “these qualities” are, we need to study them! But before we even do that, note that the key to never falling is revealed in Peter’s closing words; that is, to “practice these qualities.”3 Practice the qualities. Work on them. To practice something means that there is an intentional effort in perfecting it—which takes time and persevering through many mistakes and setbacks. To “never fall” at something means a lot of practice has come before. It is the key to keeping any resolution.

But what do our resolutions have to do with Peter’s letter written to a struggling church around 62 A.D.? I mean, really.  🙄 Most of us are just trying to lose weight, or get out of debt, start a project, organize our files, simplify our lives, etc., and Peter is talking about spiritual things, right? Well, yes, but read his opening statement: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”5  Did you hear that? God has given us his power to achieve “everything we need for life.” How about that! Here is the help we need for being successful at any . . . “thing.” And. And remember how Peter ends the passage? “For if you practice these qualities, you will never fall.”3 And also, remember—anything that comes from God “shall succeed in the thing.”5

Hmm. 🤔 Here’s my resolution advice:  let’s meditate on the promise that our resolutions are possible to achieve with God’s divine power. And those “qualities” that Peter itemizes (which we will tackle next time) are applicable to our desires as well. But it’s a lot to take in, so let’s pause. And start at the end; that is, let us take some time today to practice—i.e. work at—our “thing.”   

1Ecclesiastes 6:8    2Deuteronomy 32:8    32 Peter 1:10    4Isaiah 55:11    52 Peter 1:3

1 Comments on “Resolution Advice”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *