by Ardith Hoff
Larry hustled over to his next-door neighbor’s house just before midnight on New Year's Eve and rang the doorbell. When Thad answered the door, Larry said, “I've resolved to be a nicer person in 2018 so I needed to pop over real quick before then, and say you're a real moron.” Houston Chronicle, 12/31/17
New years resolutions are usually well intentioned, but most do not last very long unless we make a real commitment and have a specific plan for how we are going to do the things we have resolved to do e.g. saying we will exercise and then joining a gym or fitness class.
The same is true of the good intentions we say we have for being a better Christian. For some, that might mean going to church more often. For others it might mean praying more often or reading the Bible more faithfully. Still others might resolve to treat other people more compassionately, as in loving our neighbors as ourselves. Those are certainly worthwhile goals, but like any other resolution, there must be a specific plan and firm commitments in order for them to work for us long term.
Some people seem to think that saying they will do better at something means that they have already done it, but good intentions are not the same as actually following through. Setting a special time to get ready and drive to church, or setting aside a certain time of day to read the Bible and pray, actively searching out people to be kind to and putting up reminders for ourselves to be more kind to telemarketers and others who irritate us, are all concrete ways to help us do what we say we want to do. Without such planning and commitments, there is little to keep us from falling back into our comfortable old habits of never getting around to doing the things we resolved to do or doing them only sporadically.
“Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a faithful man?” Proverbs 20:6 We say we will be faithful (faith full), but it is not easy; yet we know it is God’s command. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17