I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.
My personal belief is that on December 31st or January 1st, I’m still in the same body, mind and life situation as the day, month or week before. Growth to me takes place in God’s timing – not so much as a wishful annual response.
CHANGE SHOULD BE CONSTANT
Furthermore, it shouldn’t take a turn of a year for us to begin working on things that matter. Because refinement for God’s glory should be a constant pursuit.
Things like the importance of obeying our parents (Colossians 3:20) and taking care of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20) — these are all year-round pursuits. Other examples include the need to constantly pursue godliness (James 4:8, 1 Timothy 6:6), and remain in fellowship with the church community (Hebrews 10:24-25).
I rather not make resolutions and reduce the great priorities of my life to things merely revisited for a few weeks at the turn of every year.
All these things are just as important in January as they are in any other month.
But I do see how it can be helpful for some to “declutter” their lives at a convenient interval in this way. I just rather not make resolutions, in fear that I’d inadvertently reduce the great priorities of my life to things merely revisited for a few weeks at the turn of every year.
PROCESS OR PRODUCT
I feel like what most New Year’s resolutions really do is that it takes what we already have – newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:17) – and misconstrues it as an award we have to earn, or a pursuit we strive for.
But the key difference is that when we change, we should be growing into our newfound identity found in Christ. We don’t change to conform to the image of the world. The process of growing in the Christian life — sanctification — requires time for it to happen (1 Peter 2:2-3).
So really, New Year resolutions tend to be far more focused on the product than the process. That’s part of the inevitable cost of having a well-defined goal, in order to motivate oneself towards keeping the resolution.
But the truth is, if we’ve only got our necks stuck looking upwards at the peak of the mountain, we risk missing out on seeing what God is doing in the valley.
CONTENTMENT IN CHRIST
I don’t make resolutions because I am genuinely content in God. My personal view is that the act of making resolutions can quickly become drawing up a to-do list, which in turn may lead to discontent when we don’t meet these goals we impose.
While it’s good to resolve for self-improvement, it’s important to ensure we aren’t driven by discontented hearts of a secular nature.
For example, do we resolve to study harder for our examinations in order to glorify God in our studies — or is that a thinly-veiled excuse to pursue academic success for one’s own glory?
God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7), and I think He’d be pleased with us regardless of our GPA, if what mattered more to us is whether we can continually love God and love others even in the midst of examinations.
The end of the year isn’t some time for magical refinement – instead, it’s a time for realignment.
It makes me think of what Paul says on contentment in Philippians 4. He tells the church that he has “learned how to be content” with whatever he has, that he is able to live in all circumstances through Christ who gives him strength (Philippians 4:11-13).
I believe knowing how to be content is something more Singaporeans should pursue. It’s something we already don’t do well at and may further struggle with, if we’re too caught up making and keeping well-defined resolutions.
Ultimately it’s not my resolutions that matter. It’s not about what I want to change — what matters is what God wants to change in me.
The end of the year isn’t some time for magical refinement. Instead, it’s a time for realignment — a review of how the year has gone with God. It’s a time for seeking Him to find out especially how best we should press on in the race to finish well (Philippians 3:14).