No, this is not a mistake. I know you already read my three reasons for making a New Year’s resolution this year, but I needed to make a few qualifications. I already told you that I’m all for making resolutions, but there’s something to be said for those who decide to refrain. And there are some really bad tendencies and mindsets that arise around these resolutions. So I want to give you three reasons why you should NOT make a New Year’s resolution this year.
Careless words are dangerous
Often when people make a New Year’s resolution the joke is that they’ve given up on it a few months in (or less). And sure enough, that commitment to exercise ends in a cancelled gym membership in March. Resolutions are so often casual and careless that folks never really try to follow through. But this is so dangerous! If we really believed that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,” (Matt 12:36), then we’d be way less likely to make these casual resolutions. We’d want to follow the advice of James to let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No, No” (James 5:12). If you are planning to make a careless resolution, then you should probably just hold off this year.
Along with the previous point, well-meaning people often make resolutions that are just too unrealistic. Either they are too difficult, or they involve having more money/status/talent than the person actually has. I see this with people resolving to read their Bible. They want to read the Scripture more, and praise God. But then they make a resolution to read through the Bible in an absurdly fast amount of time. Come on. Seriously? You’ve read every other day, missing weeks in between, and all of the sudden you’re going to magically read the Bible through in three months? That’s too unrealistic and often ends in disappointment and leads to not merely failing to achieve the resolution, but actually leads to discouragement towards reading the Bible altogether. We want to set our hearts to something that is actually achievable. Not that we shouldn’t resolve to do things that are difficult, but it shouldn’t be impossible. So if you are going to set an unrealistic goal, then don’t make a New Year’s resolution this year.
You are not that strong
Finally, you need to know your own weakness. Hear Jesus: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). You cannot do a single thing you resolve apart from Christ. Surely we work, and push hard, and run the race with endurance, but we always do it, “looking unto Jesus” (Heb 12:2). If you think that you will be able to muscle it out all on your own, then you are terribly mistaken. Your sweat is no replacement for God’s Spirit. You need to be strong, but always and only “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph 6:10). And when you work in His strength, He gets all the glory (1 Peter 4:11). If you’re planning to pursue your goal through your own strength this year, you shouldn’t make a New Year’s resolution.
You’ve made it through my dueling blog posts. Whether we choose to resolve or not resolve, let each one of us press on to know the Lord. Let us avoid careless words, unrealistic expectations, and Spiritless striving. We want to honor our Lord and let our “Yes” be “Yes” and our “No, No.” May this new year bring us closer to Him, and may we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. Come Lord Jesus.
© Jacob Crouch 2022
P.S. You can check out Part I HERE.