It’s that time of year again where we make promises we intend to break. Well, we don’t intend on breaking them we just know from experience that we will break them. Why don’t we keep our promises? The short answer is because we can’t. The power to keep our resolutions is not through willpower alone what makes resolutions so powerful is we are transformed by seeing the goal of our life which is Christ. What life teaches us and scriptures reveal to us is that we are incapable of perseverance over the long haul if we do in fact preserve it is because God has preserved us for himself. Author Eugene Peterson says it this way in his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction:
The Christian faith is the discovery of that center in the God who sticks with us, the righteous God. Christian discipleship is a decision to walk in his ways, steadily and firmly, and then finding that the way integrates all our interests, passions and gifts, our human needs and our eternal aspirations. It is the way of life we were created for. There are endless challenges in it to keep us on the growing edge of faith; there is always the God who sticks with us to make it possible for us to persevere.
New Year’s resolutions are the annual reminder that we are really bad at sticking to things. Yet in another sense, they are grace, God’s tender mercy revealing to us his long-suffering nature that though we are fickle he is faithful. We are able to stick to him only because he sticks to us.
Another reason I think New Year’s resolutions are helpful is they keep us looking forward and train us to hope. To look forward in anticipation of our final consummation. To live each day in light of whose we are. Hope is what keeps our love focused on others. Of the three Christian Virtues, love is the greatest because it alone remains when we through faith by grace received that which we have hoped for.
So this New Year set resolutions but remember the grace to do them is a gift and you will invariably fall short and not stick to what you start but don’t give up because you serve a “God who sticks with us to make it possible for us to persevere.”