Friday, December 30, 2011

No More Resolutions

Today we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012. It's the last day of the year but apart from being an excuse for another party does it really mean anything to anyone? When the clock strikes midnight does anything magical or mysterious happen? Does anything change? It's like birthdays: one day you're a certain age and the next day you're older but you are still the same person as you were the day before. Nothing has changed.

The beginning of a new year is a time for making resolutions as we look forward with hope that life will get better, that we will become better people. Tradition holds that on New Year's Eve,we resolve to change things in our life with which we are unhappy or dissatisfied. Lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, look for a new job, spend more time with the family etcetera.

Naturally, people make these kinds of decisions about their lives all through the year but there is feeling, a mystical belief that a New Year's Resolution will provide the extra will power needed to achieve that particular goal.

The last time I made a New Year's Resolution was in 1989 when I stated before my friends as we sat on the beach in Molokai, that I wanted to be more consistent in the practical application of my faith in Christ. Even though I achieved that desire with God's help, I don't make resolutions anymore. I just pray that God will continue to make me more like Jesus as he deals with the things in my life which hurt me and sadden him.

The problem with new year's resolutions is that they rely on will power, and will power is notoriously fickle. Some possess it in spades while others are bereft. Will power may be available, and useful, to tackle over eating but it may go AWOL or simply fail in the battle against nicotine addiction. Is will power as dependable as some make it out to be? Ask yourself the question. Think about it. Romans 7:15-20 is an explicit indictment of will power. The fact is, will power is overrated, and all the best intended new year's resolutions in the world won't be strong enough to change our hearts, or our minds. New Year's Resolutions are simply another one of society's band-aids. We need more help than we can possibly give ourselves.

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