I read one recent article calling New Year’s a “reset button.” Millions take advantage of this semi-arbitrary new start date, as if our bodies somehow just need a new operating system. Greg42 should be better than Greg41, and certainly better than the clunky Greg29, which weighed more yet held less memory, was less intelligent and wise.
According to http://www.goalsguy.com/events/n_top-ten-resolutions.html and a few other sites, here are ten top resolutions.
- Lose weight and exercise
- Get out of debt
- Get a better job
- Quit smoking, drinking, or drugs
- Spend more time with family
- Learn something new
- Get organized
- Help others
- Enjoy life more
- Find a soul mate
What is it that makes us want to make resolutions like these? How does making a resolution to find a soul mate help in finding a soul mate? How does resolving on January 1 help you not get plastered when the last time you got plastered was New Year’s Eve and you were just going to do it one more time?
I think the frustrating part of the whole thing is the recurring items that we allow to conquer us rather than conquering them. And how do we conquer? Through better organization? Through will power to stop drinking? Really, are you living in such a way as to not learn something new everyday that you need a resolution to learn something new? When will you come to a New Year’s when you feel good about your weight, you’ve not completely lost control over the holidays and gained five pounds or 15 for the year?
Part of the problem is New Year’s Resolutions instead of plodding, faithful, daily, work. But that’s not all. What on this list really speaks of Spirituality? For me and for those seeking to follow Christ, change is something we believe is enacted by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seeks to transform us by living in us and making us different.
Isn’t this yearly returning to the same problems the “old man” of Romans 5, 7? Aren’t we supposed to conquer through the power of the Spirit some of the things on this list and move on to seeking the change of the world? If we are not prepared and constantly coming back to elementary issues such as our weight, our diet, our desire to read the Bible, our disorganization, how can we be people who shine light into a dark world?
No, I’m not suggesting we get ourselves completely right and show others how it’s done, but I’m suggesting we not get swept into the self-help, New Year’s resolution whirlwind once again.
What if for the first time ever you simplify your resolutions to this one question of God.
Holy Spirit, would you show me step by step what I need to change in my life?
If you are faithful to this question, asking it daily, I believe God will show you the places of darkness in your life, and you will come to the light of the Lord, and some of the changes you have made over and over in resolutions will take care of themselves, step by step as you try to keep up with the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life.
If you are ready to try this, I suggest you read Romans 7 and 8 daily for a month as you take this call seriously. As you read it over and over, notice the transition from 7 to 8 and in Paul and in lives of those controlled by the Spirit.
Paul is not saying he stays in the state of being enslaved by sin and the law that showed him his sin. He has been freed from the law of sin and death. And what’s more, the Spirit is with us, urging us forth, even praying for us, showing us we are loved and God’s children. Why do we exchange these treasures for the annual and temporary new operating systems of culture and self-help?
Try something different this year.