As we put the holidays behind us and dig out from underneath all of the wrapping paper many of us turn to the upcoming New Year’s celebration to engage in a ritual that would confuse any visiting alien. We call it New Year’s resolutions. For reasons I don’t fully understand, it is this single point in time each year that we try and make major changes in our life. The more popular resolutions are Starting to exercise, eating better, getting more education or a better job Get a better job, getting out of debt, spend more time on relationship, or to give up something like cigarettes or alcohol. According to one recent survey, almost 92 percent of individuals fail in their attempts at these changes. Why? Because our intentions don’t determine where we end up. Our direction does. Direction trumps every time.
In 2012—you can intend with great determination to certain destinations in your relationships, in your profession, in you time management, financially or spiritually. But that really doesn’t matter because you will end up right where the path you are on leads.
As you might imagine, the bible weighs in on resolutions this whole idea of intending to do change. If you were to take the whole of the Old and New Testament’s teaching in this area, you might summarize the principles this way. Don’t trust yourself and follow God’s ways regardless of what your heart is telling you. Proverb’s 3 says it this way; Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away.
So with one eye on scripture and another on the year ahead, let me offer this challenge. Rather then making a list of resolutions that you won’t keep, ask yourself a few questions.
Are their disconnects in my life between where I really want to be and the path I am on?
Where is there misalignment between my intentions and my direction?
Then ask God to help you with four things. First, for the courage to take responsibility for any misalignment rather then blame circumstances or others. (Heb. 4:12) Second, for forgiveness where you have deviated from his direction (I John 1:9). Third, to show you the right direction (II Peter 1:3). Finally, for wisdom in plotting a new course (James 1:5). And, next year at this time when you are overwhelmed by the freedom and peace this gives, smile and give God the credit. Here’s to making it count.