Some Resolutions Are Worth Making
New Year's has come around again, and what do people think of at New Year's? Resolutions.
But New Year's resolutions, or what passes for them, are not what they used to be. People don't often take resolutions seriously anymore. We hear about resolutions that have been broken than those which have been kept.
However, there are some resolutions that are worth making, and keeping. Many of these we find in the Word of God. Allow me to mention just a few:
1. "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19). The Bible says that God's ways lead to life, but man's ways lead ultimately to eternal death. Jesus said, "I am the Way the Truth, and the Life; no man comes unto the Father except by me" (John 14:6). God gives us the freedom to choose which way we will go. Resolve to choose life in 2008.
2. "Choose you this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15). After the death of Moses, Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land and helped them conquer it. Then he called all the people together. Joshua reminded them of what God had done for them, and that they must remain faithful to Him.
Like Israel did later, we often play games with God. We figure we can do our own thing now, and serve God later. But later is often too late. God calls us to choose--get off the fence, get in or get out. God hates lukewarm believers (Revelation 3:15-16). Resolve to serve God in 2008.
3. "Repent and be baptized . . . and you shall receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and told the crowd that Jesus, whom they had crucified, was in fact the Son of God. It was Jesus, now exalted to the right hand of God, who produced the miracle of speaking in tongues that they had just seen and heard.
Troubled, the people began to ask, "What are we to do?" Peter told them, essentially, that they must repent of their sins and undergo a conversion experience; and about 3000 were saved that day. Even saints need to repent now and then. Resolve to be repentant, to live a converted life, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit in 2008.
4. "I do not want you to be ignorant!" (Romans 11:25, etc.). Again and again, both Peter and Paul admonish the Church not to walk in ignorance, but in knowledge and truth. The Bible and the preaching of God's Word are readily available to everyone today. Willful ignorance of God's will is inexcusable (Romans 1:18-32). Resolve to study God's Word faithfully and to know God's perfect will for your life in 2008.
5. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1-2). Someone has said that the problem with a "living sacrifice" is that it keeps crawling off the altar. God does not call most of us to die for Him, but He calls all of us to live for him. Resolve to keep sacrificing your selfish will and lending yourself to do God's will in 2008.
6. "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16). Paul recognized his own physical weakness and inability to be perfect before God in his own strength, try as he might. He said, "What I want to do, I do not do; but what I hate, that I do" (Romans 7:15).
Paul knew he needed the power of God to work through him in order to overcome sin. Desire to obey God and willpower are not enough (see Galatians 3:3). Serving God absolutely requires the power of the Holy Spirit working through us.
How do you let the Holy Spirit work in and through you? It involves all I have said before: choosing life in Christ, choosing to serve God faithfully, being repentant and undergoing a real conversion experience, being knowledgeable of God's will for your life, offering yourself up to God continually and sacrificially to do His will, and much more. Walking in the Spirit means being motivated by the Spirit of God rather than by your own desires. Sure, it's hard, but it must be done.
There are many more great resolutions which we can draw from the Bible. For instance, just look at those listed in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22. We can learn a great deal from these admonitions.
So let us resolve together to walk by God's Spirit, not by our flesh, in 2008.
©1992, 2008 Paul A. Hughes. First Published in the Polk County Enterprise, January 5, 1992, p. 5B.