New Year's False Promises?
Do you make New Year's resolutions? The year ends in a frenzy, and usually a frenzy that lacks self-control on eating, sleeping, and spending! A new year, then, is perhaps the ripest time to make resolutions for your life - to eat better, exercise more, climb a mountain, get a promotion, read the Bible straight through, and so on. Is that part of your annual practice?
If so, have you been successful at it? I've know a few who have made successful (and challenging) resolutions, and enjoyed the benefits. I've know many more who make them, don't keep them for very long, and then either return to how things were, or even return with a greater burden of guilt. In those cases, resolutions become New Year's False Promises. But I'm happy for those who've been successful.
Resolutions can be a good practice as goal-setting. We need goals, we need to stretch ourselves, and we need plans to reach challenging aspirations. During the lull after Christmas affords a good pocket of time to reflect and sketch out those goals. We can do fairly impressive things by good practices of goal-setting and the disciplines to reach those goals.
Or, resolutions can be guilt-inducing, Old Testament style laws we put on ourselves to threaten feeling bad about ourselves unless we reach a certain milestone. These are most likely to fail because the motivation is all external and based on guilt. Those are terrible and ineffective motivators.
Even with goal-setting, the Bible offers some counsel for us in James 4:13-17, admonishing us to submit all of our plans and goals to God's will:
Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” -- James 4:15
Is there a better way? Join us Sunday for a different idea on how we might get ourselves ready for 2017.