Let me be the 749th person to wish you a Happy New Year. 2017 is here! Can you believe it? I for one do believe it, for I have seen the great ball drop in the far off land of New York.
It seems around this time every year, we hear the word ‘resolution’ quite a bit. Does anyone use this word February-November? What does it even mean?
Definition ‘1-a’ for the word “resolution” on Merriam-Webster.com says, “the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones.” That’s probably not the definition that we think of when we make a New Year’s resolution. We mean it in the sense of the root word ‘resolve’ which means, among other things, “to reach a firm decision about.”
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Life is complex, and we try to manage it by breaking it down into different silos. The overarching reason why we try to manage all of these silos of our lives is so that our lives are better. No one, at least I hope not, makes a resolution with the purpose of making their life worse.
We make resolutions about many, many, things. Here are some of the most popular, and I’m guessing you, like me have made one or more of these resolutions at some point in your life. Oh, and you’ve probably also broken one or more of those same resolutions. It’s okay, I’m there with you, there is strength in numbers. But I digress …on to the list: Lose weight, get fit, quit smoking, take up a new hobby, eat healthier, get out of debt, spend more time with family, go back to church, travel more, save more, get organized.
Sounds like the perfect life, doesn’t it? You’d have little or no health problems, little or no money woes, and little or no relationship issues. That’s livin’! Well, as both you and I know, the perfect life does not exist. You and I both have had, have, or will have situations arise that show us no matter how much we resolve to do something, we are not as in control as we may think we are.
So we make resolutions in order to better ourselves and/or better our circumstances, with the ultimate goal of making our overall life better. There is good in that. We should desire to change things in our lives that are undesirable. However, there is no resolution we can make that will result in a pain-free life. We try to eradicate negative circumstances, but we can’t.
May I suggest to you today that the absolute greatest resolution we can make is found in the book of Philippians chapter 3. In verses 10, 13 & 14, the apostle Paul says, “I want to know Christ … forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
We may make a resolution to read the Bible more, or pray more, or go to church more regularly. I say amen to those resolutions. However, we can go to church, pray, and read the Bible and miss Jesus. He’s the reason we should want to do any of those things in the first place.
So as 2017 begins, whether you’ve made a resolution or not, I challenge you to resolve along with Paul to want to know Christ. I challenge you to read the Bible… After you’ve asked God to show you Jesus. I challenge you to pray… After your first prayer of asking God to not let you miss Jesus. I challenge you to go to church to connect with people, to sing praise to God, and to listen to God’s Word being taught…AFTER you’ve asked God to show you Jesus in all of it.
We make resolutions to attempt to fix ourselves. We can’t. Jesus can. Don’t miss him.
Dave Pacheco is pastor at Delaware Grace.