About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
To make resolutions stick, invite God into the process
BY HEATHER ABLONDI
Another Christmas has come and gone and it is time to look forward to the new year ahead. One of my favorite things to do during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is to organize my new day planner and set goals for the coming year. The clean white pages signify a fresh start—the beginning of a new chapter where anything is possible.
Like many people, I use this time to make resolutions on how I am going to live differently during the coming year. I recently read an article that listed the top three most popular resolutions. Not surprisingly, the No. 1 goal set by people is to lose weight, followed by getting out of debt and spending more time with family and friends.
We each set out with the best of intentions, but unfortunately most of us are never able to fully follow through with our plans. The gym parking lot will be so crowded on Jan. 1, it will be near impossible to find a parking space. Unfortunately, by the beginning of March most of our gym bags will be sitting neglected in the back of our closets.
We plan weekly date nights with our spouse or special play dates with our children, but mid-way through the year we realize that months have gone by since we last set aside time to be with those we love.
Most of the time, the reason for our failure is that we are trying to accomplish these goals through our own power. We read in John 6:63 that “human effort accomplishes nothing.” I have found that when I make a resolution and do not invite God into the process, I have set myself up to fail before I even begin.
So how can we do things differently this year? I believe the answer can be found in John 15:15 where Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Paul goes on to tell us in Philippians 4:13 that “(we) can do all things through Christ who strengthens (us).”
First, we should go to God in prayer and ask for His guidance when making our New Year’s resolutions. Matthew tells us in his gospel that we are to “seek the Kingdom of God above all else and He will give you everything that you need.”
When we ask Him to show us the areas of our lives that need to be changed, we can be sure that He will supply us with the strength we need to accomplish those goals.
Another way to ensure that our goals line up with God’s will for our life is to base them on Scripture. For example, I don’t think we will be able to find a verse that corresponds to losing weight so that we can fit into the new skinny jeans we got for Christmas, but we can certainly find biblically-based inspiration for improving our physical health.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, Paul tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to honor God with our bodies. Desiring to be obedient to this exhortation can provide the motivation we need to take care of our ourselves even on the days when we really don’t feel like doing so.
Finally, whatever resolutions we make, we should follow the advice found in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
When we make pleasing and obeying God in all we do our first and foremost resolution, we are sure to be successful in the areas of life that matter most.
I will be praying that God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us,” will bless each of you and your plans in the coming year (Ephesians 3:20).
Heather Ablondi is a women’s ministry speaker and author who resides in Fredericksburg. Contact her at heatherablondi.com.