Worthwhile Resolutions


The beginning of every calendar year is a somewhat cliched time of resolutions. Many, if not most, resolutions lose enough steam over the course of a year that they fail. This prospect does not mean that we shouldn’t make resolutions, however.

Resolution, most simply, is coming to a decision about something that has been an uncertainty in our hearts in the past. It may have been a leaning, an inclination, or a sense that something is out of balance in our lives, and we have decided to address the issue head-on. It may be something we have been very aware of but ignored due to the difficulty or size of the problem. In any case, it now has our focus, and we have “resolved” the unanswered question that has lived in our hearts. We believe we have identified a problem, we have a plan to fix it, and we are determined to see it through.

Resolution can refer both to the end of the process of fixing a problem (“it has been resolved”) and the determination we possess to see it through, as in the phrase “I am resolved”.

Resolutions are easy to make, and the fact is most everyone makes them every day, but instinctively and quietly. They don’t have to be grandiose, sweeping, or public to be resolutions. Any time we hear of someone who is struggling and pray for them we have made a resolution. Any time we react badly to some stress or hurt in our lives and recognize it- then do better the next time- that is a resolution. Any time we see in ourselves some way in which we don’t compare well to a good example we have seen in someone else, then improve that attitude or behavior- we have made, then kept, a resolution.

New Years resolutions can be very wasteful if we aren’t careful. We can identify something we would like to change, then plan and act with great determination, but if this resolution ignores far more serious issues or directs our resources (time, energy, attention) away from things that are genuine needs in our lives, they can take existing problems and make them worse.

Think carefully about resolutions. Determine to address things that matter. Understand that attention given to spiritual things in our lives will add much more quality to our life and character than any material concerns we might have.

Consider the resolution of Ezra-

And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. 10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Ezra 7:8-10

Ezra’s resolution involved preparing his heart to seek God’s will, do God’s will, and teach God’s will.

This is a resolution worth adopting for any child of God. Note carefully the mention of God’s good hand upon Ezra. Also note that God’s help and protection for Ezra was a direct result of the quality of his resolution. These are critical lessons for us to learn, particularly in this time of resolutions. Make some resolutions this year that might bring God’s good hand into your life. Prepare to seek God’s will in this new year. Prepare to do God’s will in this new year. Prepare to teach God’s will in this new year.

Resolutions which invite God’s good hand to be upon us are resolutions worth making.