I recently got a Facebook “like” from one of my former cross-country runners. It brought back some amazing memories of the All-State championship his team won in 1979. The team was invited to the Statehouse in Boston to receive a copy of a resolution recognizing their achievement. It began with “Be it resolved that…”
That got me thinking about the new year and how many of us will make (and break) resolutions we’d like to achieve during 2016. We’ll make them and most of us will fail to keep them. Why do we fail in so many of these well-intentioned efforts at self-improvement?
Maybe the word “self-improvement” is the problem. It’s all well and good to determine in our hearts and minds that “Be it resolved that” we will lose weight, get more exercise, spend more time with our family, be more responsible with our finances–you name it. These are all good things. But they may not be the best things to focus on now. In Jeremiah God says, I know the plans I have for you …plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future…pray to me, and I will listen to you. (Jeremiah 29:11-12)
The things we hope to accomplish in our lives are nearly impossible to accomplish on our own. Can someone recover from an addiction on their own? Sure, it happens sometimes. But at what cost, and to what end? My dad gave up smoking “cold turkey” and never relapsed. But he died of lung cancer and, while smoking, poisoned his family with second-hand smoke–making them at risk for cancer and other related problems. He never intended those consequences.
Unless we have God’s direction in our lives, we have no control over eventual outcomes. We know so little in comparison to God. What we think is of as having immediate importance may be way back on God’s back burner. And something we think we can procrastinate over, God may want up front and in our face.
Solomon was given great wisdom and riches because he went to God to find out what he should do as David’s successor to the throne. God was saying, “be it resolved that” you shall meet with success in all your endeavors as long as you follow my commands and never turn away from me. Now there’s a New Year’s resolution for you. Follow God and never turn away. Want to bet that all the other typical resolutions get taken care of along the way?
Resolutions with God are to be permanent. As Solomon got older and increased his wealth, reach, and wisdom he began to drift away from God and make sacrifices to the gods of his many wives (700) and concubines (300). Talk about asking for trouble! So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel. (I Kings 11:9) And punishment quickly followed when the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my decrees, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, David, I will not do this while you are still alive. I will take the kingdom away from your son. (I Kings 11:11-12)
This happened to Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. Even he couldn’t make and keep success on his own. I’m not the wisest man anywhere–except maybe in my own household (and that’s because I’m the only man in my household). So what chance do I have of living up to the resolutions that God wants me to make?
Only one. Be it resolved that I will follow God and His plans for me each and every day–without turning aside for any distraction or temptation, remembering that I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)