Two New Years Questions that Beg for an Answer

1. Why do people make new years resolutions?

INSERT HERE the usual commentary about the preponderance of failed New Year’s Resolutions. Be sure to include examples of gym, diet, and daily Bible reading.

WHY do we continue to make these resolutions, even when most people who make the commitment are saddled with the expectation, even as they articulate them, that they will fail? Is our culture that full of sadists? I think the answer is the exact opposite: rather than people being sadists, our actions demonstrate a longing for more.

We want more. We long for better. The very existence of our resolutions prove us to be desperately aware of our own shortcomings. It is likely that none of our desires are as potent as the yearning to be a better version of ourselves.

Truth be told, this instinctive, inherent human desire rings loudly with the echoes of the gospel.

But desire is rarely enough.

2. Do New Year’s Resolutions give birth to discipline, or does discipline give birth to resolutions?

If the desire is so strong, why is it insufficient to finish the course? I suspect that many of us view resolutions (either New Year’s or any other variety) as the solution to the problem–identifying the goal and course to be taken to achieve said goal. And, to be fair, this is indeed partly true. But here’s the reality: the end-goal can never be achieved simply by stating it, writing it, or even breaking it up into tiny, manageable chunks.

The goal is always achieved by working towards it.

If you (LIKE ME!!!) find yourself on the wrong end of a failed resolution (or resolutions!), then perhaps the question we should be asking is, “Do I need more resolutions, or do I need more work (both harder and smarter)?”

Hard work is the essence of doing what we don’t want to do in order to become who we want to become. And for those who are already anxiously raising the objection, this applies to our Christian walk JUST AS MUCH as it does anything else (if not more!!!).

Dallas Willard said it best when he said, “Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action. Earning is attitude. Paul, who perhaps understood grace better than any other mere human being, looked back at what had happened to him and said: “By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” “1 Cor 15:10

My sole New Year’s Resolution: that my labor will exceed my desire.

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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