How are those New Year’s resolutions going?
If you’re like most people, they didn’t last long. Most people fail in their resolutions.
So, don’t feel too bad. After all, you can save paper by just making the same resolutions next year!
My dad shared a quote with me recently that I think he found on Facebook. “My New Year’s resolution was to lose 10 lbs and I’m doing great! Only 15 pounds to go!”
The Resolution Struggle
It seems that we struggle with making our lives match our resolutions. We’re just not very good resolvers.
Or maybe the problem lies with kind of resolutions we’re resolving. So many of our resolutions look good on paper, but when we try to put them into real life, they fail. Real life has a tendency to be a resolution-dissolver.
And, if you’re a Christian, that’s a problem. A resolution is a commitment. Jesus says honoring your commitments is important. So, if your resolutions keep failing, you’ve got to choose between two options: 1) Quit making resolutions, or, 2) make life-proof resolutions.
Kicking the resolution habit may be tempting, but I think that the second option is better for the Christian life: start making life-proof resolutions.
What I mean by “life-proof resolutions” are resolutions that can withstand all that life throws at you. Resolutions that have enough flexibility built in to sway with life’s ebbs and flows.
There’s a phrase that is used three times in the New Testament that can serve as the foundation for life-proof resolutions. It’s found in three different passages of Scripture. The phrase is “whatever you do.”
And each of these “whatever you do” passages adds a unique command (or resolution) on top of the foundational statement.
However you’re doing on your resolutions this year, consider making the following your life-proof resolutions (you don’t even have to wait for New Year’s Eve):
Resolution #1: Whatever you do, do it for God’s glory.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
We have a tendency to make our resolutions about ourselves. Then, when life proves to not be about ourselves, our resolutions fail. A life-proof resolution recognizes our insufficiency by saying, “whatever I do, I’m going to seek to glorify God.” Then if you have to kind of take a step back, if life gets in the way, you are still on track: “whatever I do I’m going to glorify God.” Paul, who wrote this passage basically outlines a “how-to” on glorifying God after urging us to do whatever we do for the glory of God:
- Seek peace with those who think they know God, but don’t
- Seek peace with those who don’t think they need God, but do
- Seek peace with those in the church
- Seek to please others, not yourself
- Seek to save many
Sounds pretty straightforward. And those are things we can do no matter what happens in life.
Resolution #2: Whatever you do, do it in Jesus’ name.
“In Jesus’ name” is not a magic formula. “In Jesus’ name” means doing everything under his authority. There’s an idea of ambassadorship here. An ambassador is somebody who’s commissioned to represent another person or a group to another group or person. As Christians, when we commit to doing whatever we do in Jesus’ name, we’re representing Jesus as his ambassadors. So how does that work? Simple:
- Do what Jesus would do if he were you.
- Don’t do what Jesus wouldn’t do if he were you.
It’s not as common anymore, but when I was growing up, W.W.J.D. was everywhere in the Christian sub-culture. And, for all its clichéd status, it’s really a good way to think about your life: What Would Jesus Do?
Then do it. See? It’s life-proof.
Resolution #3: Whatever you do, give it everything you’ve got.
A life-proof resolution is not a workless resolution. Just because I’m encouraging you to build some flexibility into your resolutions doesn’t mean this is going to be easy. Trying to glorify God and represent Jesus is going to be difficult. And if you’re in it for the praise of others who see you, you’re on the wrong track. “Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord.” I paraphrased it with “give it everything you’ve got.”
I was in 4-H growing up and they had a great pledge we said at every meeting. “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.” The pledge was based on the 4 H’s: Head, Heart, Hands, Health. Get it…4-H (clever, I know). But the idea is that the 4-Her is committing their whole self to the work.
I think that idea of committing the whole self aligns perfectly with the Christian life under Christ and for God. So a modified 4-H pledge works really well under this resolution: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking about Christ, my heart to greater loyalty to Christ, my hands to larger service for Christ, and my health to better living in Christ, for my church, my community, my country and my world.”
So, again I ask: how are your resolutions going?
And, may I suggest that no matter the state of your resolutions thus far, commit to life-proof resolutions by seeking to glorify God, representing Jesus well, and giving everything you’ve got for those tasks.