“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” – Ecclesiastes 5:2
“A wise man once said…nothing.” – Attributed to Will Rogers
In a few days it will be 11 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds PM December 31, 2018. One second later it will be 12 AM 0 minutes 1 second January 1, 2019. As though there was some magical force field between those two moments, countless people will resolve to do something they failed at or could not do prior to that moment.
New Year’s resolutions will be made.
I’m not against resolutions. As a matter of fact, I don’t think we should wait until the first of the year to make them. However, I am concerned with meaningless resolutions.
There is the story of a man who was late for a job interview. He was riding around looking for a parking place and made a quick promise to God, “Lord, if you give me a parking place I will do whatever you want.” As soon as he finished, a car pulled out of a parking place right in front of the building where he had to be. He immediately prayed, “Forget it Lord; I just found a place.”
To me, the question about resolutions has to do with whom we rely on in order to carry out the resolution.
Christian resolutions often relate to our relationship to God: I resolve to pray more; I resolve to read my Bible more; I resolve to be a better husband or wife or father or mother or kid. We make these resolutions as though we have the strength to do it. In reality, we might have the will to do it but, on our own, we do not have the strength to do it. We need Christ.
Hence, Paul writes, “I can do all things through him [Christ] who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) He is really echoing the writer of Ecclesiastes. Don’t think you can do it on your own. Don’t be hasty in making a promise. Realize in whom your strength lies.
If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution – or ever make a resolution – let me encourage you to heed the words of Ecclesiastes and Philippians. Be careful in what you say. Don’t think you can do it without Christ. Think about your position before God. Don’ hesitate to call on God for strength.
If you can’t do that, then I suggest you follow the advice attributed to Will Rogers.
Having written this, I am now going to think about what I should resolve to change and then ask for God’s help in doing it. I guess there is no better time for self-examination than now.
Ken Lont is Executive Director at Grace Redeemer.