At this time of year, it is popular in our culture to encourage people to make a New Year’s resolution. The New Year is a time of hope for change. Of course, the diet industry and the fitness industry love this because it means a host of new people will be signing up to implement their next change.
I think to a certain degree our culture misunderstands the frailty of mankind. The Bible points to mankind as being created in the image of God but tainted by sin in such a way that man is ultimately morally depraved and bankrupt without God’s assistance. So every year, people resolve to try to change their fleshly nature by resolving to exercise more or eat better. According to a 2005 survey by Kraft and the South Beach diet, the average dieting resolution lasts 33 days. About 20 percent of those who made New Year’s Resolutions regarding diet quit their diet within two weeks and 23 percent last less than a month. Ultimately man can do little to reform his flesh through personal determination and commitment.
Having said that, I think our focus as Christians should be on the eternal instead of the temporal world we live in. Rather than procrastinating until the New Year to make every change we didn’t make last year (or a change we made that didn’t stick), we should resolve to live every day to the fullest. As a result, I submit some great resolutions by Jonathan Edwards http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?351 and Clyde Kilby http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/976_10_resolutions_for_mental_health/
In contrast to our prideful self-determined culture, I especially like the way Jonathan Edwards introduces his resolutions, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” Rather than giving a yearly resolution, Edwards resolved to live in a godly manner each day. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, may we daily resolve to live the same way.
Written by Dr. Joe Parle, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean at the College of Biblical Studies