New Year’s resolutions! The very mention of them brings to mind something in us that should change; however, for whatever reason we have been unwilling or unmotivated to make the effort. There is something about a new year that seems to inspire us to overcome the resistance and make a positive difference in our lives. So we resolve to start with a clean slate and do things differently. Yet before January has ended, the old habits seem to take back control from the new resolutions. This is an age-old problem. The apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing that I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
Paul explains in Romans 7 how he plans to do good, to live a life following God’s commands, and to live above the fleshly desires, but his sinful body wants its own way. He wonders how he will ever be free from his own destruction. If Paul was frustrated by the lack of follow-through with his intentions, how can we hope to do any better? Fortunately, Paul provides the answer in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”
We can be encouraged by Paul’s honesty about his challenge of sticking with his resolutions because he gives us the secret. It is a struggle! Then, he clarifies that the power of Jesus Christ can overcome the challenge. As we foster our relationship with Christ, he fills us with the strength necessary to adhere to even the most challenging of resolutions.
As you contemplate the aspects of your life that need change, keep the emphasis on the areas that will have an eternal impact. Consider the following questions in making resolutions:
- What spiritual discipline do you need to be more intentional about practicing?
- How can you offer value and service to the body of Christ?
- Whose salvation can you commit to praying for?
- What big dream would you like to happen this year that only God could fulfill?
As you prayerfully seek the Lord’s direction for the upcoming year, commit your plans to Him and He will direct your steps (Proverbs 16:3).
May God bless your ministry and your life in 2017 with clear vision, complete protection, and mighty strength as you carry out the plans He has for you.