“. . .he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
With the New Year upon us, people are into the resolution game. I call it a game because, for most people I know, it isn’t much more than that – is it?. Furthermore, at a glance, it appears to be a game that cannot be won. I know I have rolled those dice a few times, more often than not coming out a loser, not of weight, unfortunately, but the game. For me, it seems resolutions are made more so to be broken than achieved. According to a 2012 Time Magazine article, the 10 most commonly broken resolutions are:
Lose Weight and Get Fit
Learn Something New
Eat Healthier and Diet
Get Out of Debt and Save Money
Spend More Time with Family
Travel to New Places
Be Less Stressed
If I were to create a personal Win/Loss column for the above list (like you find in football, baseball, basketball and other such sports), I know I wouldn’t be making the playoffs; I’d most likely be at or near the bottom of my division, sitting at home with a spoon and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, Boom Chocolatta in hand watching the big game on TV.
So many times I have stepped up to that proverbial plate and swung the bat only to hear the umpire’s voice shout, “stri—ke”; 1, 2, 3, you’re out. After which I walk shamefaced back to the dugout to be consoled by my disappointed teammates having failed yet again. Now, the question that raises for me is this. If I cannot rely on myself to get things important done, to achieve goals and cross the finish line having killed my Goliaths – then who, or, what can I rely on?
I need to lose weight but cannot find within myself the ability to maintain the appropriate diet and exercise regimen necessary to accomplish the task. I need to be learning new things and find a way to avoid the road that always takes me back to my comfort zone and the familiar. I should be reading my bible, shunning the temptation to pick up John Grisham’s latest offering. I need to spend less time on the computer playing Candy Crush and more time rekindling the crush I had on my wife when we first met. I should be creating a stronger bond with my children instead of the useless bond I spend more time cultivating with my television set and attending the ball games my grandkids play in, cheering them on instead of cheering on the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis team on Criminal Minds. I need to establish priorities, stay with the program, keep focused, make better choices, persevere and maintain. On and on and on it goes, an ever-growing list of what I should do, need to do but don’t do.
I find myself to be like the apostle Paul who said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Oh, what a miserable person I am!” (Romans 7:15, 19, 24a NLT). Who will free me from myself, Paul asks?
I understand the old apostle was referring to the utter futility in attempting to keep the law, but don’t his words apply? Do they not fit in this ridiculous arena of human effort to make the right choices in life – on New Year’s Day or any other day? I often think of it like this; if I am the “overcomer” scripture tells me I am, the guy who is “more than a conqueror” then why do I continue chalking up losses instead of wins? Who will free me from me, I ask? “Thank God!” (Paul writes) “The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25a NLT). Only in Jesus can I accomplish what I cannot accomplish on my own.
Yes, “I (we) can do all things through Christ [through him alone] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV); but we would do well to heed the counsel of a very wise king who once said,
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! (Proverbs 3:5-8 The Message).
Thanks, Solomon, sounds like good advice and a good resolution to kick off the new year with. Jesus, help me to keep it this time.