Of Legacies and New Year’s Resolutions

new-years-resolutions

by Dr. Charles Betters

I have mixed feelings about making New Year’s resolutions. In the first place, I’m not certain that it’s a Biblical concept. The Holy Spirit, not a New Year’s resolution, is the Agent of meaningful transformation in our lives. If, instead, our focus is on what we can do in our own strength, making resolutions has the same feel to it as the widely established non-biblical doctrine that “The Lord helps them that help themselves.” The truth is, if you added the word “cannot,” as in “The Lord helps them that cannot help themselves,” you’d be on the road to sound biblical doctrine.

Another potential pitfall with New Year’s resolutions is intentionally waiting for New Year’s Day to fix something that is broken, especially if sin is involved. Sin needs our immediate attention. It’s the same feeling you get when you hear an inexperienced parent give a disobedient child “until the count of three” to obey. The take-away message for the child, of course, is that a deferred 33 percent obedience rate is acceptable. In reality, “obey” and “later” (or “next year”) don’t work well together in the same response.

On the other hand, if anyone should have reason to make a New Year’s resolution, it should be Christians. We have been freed from the bondage of sin by the Holy Spirit, Who is able to effect genuine transformation in our lives. If you want a picture of this liberation, put yourself in the place of the demon-possessed man in Mark 5:1-20. If God can overcome the spiritual bondage described in that passage, He can overcome the sin patterns in our life as well…

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