It’s that time of year again. Everyone is either making, or telling you why you shouldn’t make, a New Year’s resolution. It seems like recently most people are against making these resolutions, but I’m actually for it! I want to give you three reasons why I think you should make a resolution this year.
It is good to resolve to do something
Very rarely do we learn or grow by accident, rather it almost always happens because of some resolve on our part. And this is the same biblically speaking. Ezra, “set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel” (Ezra 7:10). David commanded the Israelites, “Now set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God” (2 Chron 22:19). That sounds like a resolution to me. And how often have the saints been encouraged by the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards? Here’s one from him that has encouraged me: “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.” It is good to resolve.
It is good to pursue righteousness
Paul tells Timothy on two different occasions to “pursue righteousness” (1 Tim 6:11, 2 Tim 2:22). Isaiah calls on those who “pursue righteousness” (Isa 51:1), and says that the “noble plans noble things” (Isa 32:8). Those who are godly are not passive in righteousness but are actively pursuing it. Resolving to do good is a way to pursue righteousness.
You are not perfect
Finally, why do I think it’s a good idea to make a resolution? Because you (and I) are not perfect! I’m convinced that as many areas as there are to grow, I need to grow in them. I fall short of the glory of God, and I want to be more like Christ. So it is fitting for me to find an area that needs growth and to purpose, plan, yes, resolve to grow. A resolution takes it out of the abstract and forces me to move. Hear the Apostle Peter: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We need to grow, and we are commanded to grow.
It’s only fitting to end with Jonathan Edwards’ confession at the beginning of his resolutions. As good as it is to resolve, we must know that apart from Christ we can do nothing. It is the Spirit who gives life, and our flesh is no help at all.
Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.Jonathan Edwards
© Jacob Crouch 2022
P.S. For a bit of a clarification, check out Part II, “3 Reasons Why You Should NOT Make a New Year’s Resolution This Year”