Though not a fan of statistics, I heard one recently that simultaneously made me chuckle and startle with fear of being discovered. While listening to a podcast by Michael Hyatt, this quote tickled my funny bone and exposed my failure: "The average person makes the same New Year's resolution 10 different times with no success.” If you’re like me you have made a resolution every late December or early January to “lose weight this year.” Compounded with that evidence, the podcast threw another zinger at me, "One in four New Year's resolutions are a failure within one week.”
Discouraged yet? My intention is not to discourage but to give us all a dose of reality. The impulse to improve our lives is indeed commendable. Personally, I started early on some of my resolutions, beginning mid-December. We shouldn’t stop making resolutions simply because we fail often. Even when we succeed, another ugly attitude often appears: pride. So how can we avoid both pride and despair in 2015?
Christianity, when one understands it well, is not a religion of life improvement under our “life coach” Jesus who stands by us as we sweat through life. If Jesus were to hypothetically make a New Year’s resolution, He would have kept every single one. The Bible teaches that Jesus lived a perfect life. Read how Jesus resolved to accomplish something for you: Luke 9:51 states, “When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem.” Jesus resolved, literally “set His face” to go to Jerusalem. He knew He was going to the cross to die for you. He knew His mission. He carried it out to perfection. The results that came from that benefit all of humanity.
With the truth in mind that Christianity is a religion of “done” instead of “do,” how should one approach life? How should one live out the daily grind? Author David Powlison suggests that “the entire Christian life might be conceived as a lifelong determination to make and walk out 'New Creation Every-Day Resolutions.’" Knowing Jesus makes us new, a “new creation,” as the Bible teaches. Forgiven, we don’t feel the pressure to impress God with our fulfilled resolutions. Life becomes a joy living resolutely to serve the needs of those around us.
Author Paul Tripp adds, “You see, the character of a life is not set in two or three dramatic moments, but in 10,000 little moments...Yes, you and I need to be committed to change, but not in a way that hopes for a big event of transformation, but in a way that finds joy in and is faithful to a day-by-day, step-by-step process of insight, confession, repentance and faith.” I encourage you to dwell upon these thoughts as we enter into a new year, a new opportunity to evaluate our lives. We can be thankful that though we fail in many (if not most) of our resolutions, Jesus did not falter in His resolute march to fulfill His mission, His big goal: to be led like a lamb to the slaughter to die for the sins of mankind. Living in light of that truth is liberating! May God bless you in 2015!