Year after year millions of people decide to make life changing decisions called resolutions. We identify a problem area in our life or an area in which we have enough concern to want to improve and we begin planning on how we can make the necessary changes. These changes, we believe, will make us healthier, wealthier, more at peace and happier altogether. And for the most part, we’re right! Our lives will indeed improve if we make these changes successfully. Some of us decide we want to lose weight, so we make a New Year’s resolution to exercise daily and change our diet. Others of us decide we want to do more reading, so we make a list of books they want to read each month. Still others of us decide we want to spend more time with our families, so we map out daily schedules that will free-up time to do so.
These are noble resolutions, but I can tell you from experience that there’s something gravely wrong with them. They’re broken! They never last! I’ve made perhaps hundreds of New Year’s resolutions and I can’t think of one that I’ve successfully kept. They keep breaking. I plan and plan and plan and execute and execute and execute and somehow I fail and fail and fail. It’s like buying a new car every year that breaks down about halfway home. I get excited that I’ve finally got my answer (my resolution), I sit down and turn the key, starting the engine. I take-in the new car smell and begin driving. But about halfway home the car begins to smoke, the tires begin to wobble, a hubcap veers off and hits a kid on a skateboard, the “service engine” light comes on, I spill my coffee all over my lap and I turn down a one way street. Before you know it the engine cuts out and I’m stranded. I’m in the same position as I was before I got into the new car. I get into this “new” car and drive it into the ground every single year, every single January.
Unfortunately my example is horribly skewed. I’d love to blame the broken resolution and accept it has failed me time and time again, but I can’t and neither can you. Why do our resolutions fail? Why do our valiant efforts, which seem so brilliant and good-natured, fail so miserably year after year after year? May I suggest the problem is the same problem that many Christians face early in their walk with Jesus? Many new believers are jubilantly excited about their newfound life and freedom in Christ. We would say they are “on fire” for God. They are energetic, zealous and unashamed as they fearlessly launch themselves into society with the intention of living an obedient life for Christ. This is a beautiful thing, but something happens after a while. For some reason they become less energetic, zealous and unashamed and become more like they were before they were saved. They begin to live life in a way that isn’t as glorifying to God. They begin to cut corners, letting things slide. They know God wants them to live one way, but they’ve now decided living this way and this passionately is too hard or too burdensome. It’s almost like cologne wearing off after a short time. You easily smell the rich aroma at first, but then it seems to fade off over time. We become weaker and weaker Christians, like the cologne’s aroma. What happens that weakens us as Christians, that weakens our walk with Christ, that weakens our resolutions? The problem lies somewhere between the making of the resolution and the loss of interest in continuing the resolution. The problem isn’t our plan. The problem isn’t our intention. The problem isn’t our execution of that plan. The problem is this: we don’t equip ourselves with enough accountability and support to succeed.
Our culture promotes individualism in the extreme sense. “I can do this!” “I can be successful!” “I just have to decide to do this!” Now I’m not against individualism, but any successful leader will tell you that they couldn’t have done it alone. Lasting change is not made alone and transformation (total and permanent change) is certainly not made alone. Championships are not won alone, not even in individual sports. Coaches and trainers are necessary. Successful lifestyle changes and goals are not achieved alone. Christians growing in their walk with Jesus Christ do not grow simply being alone with God, but with frequent and regular fellowship with one another and solid Bible teaching. It is the sharing of our lives, with transparency, that promotes growth. And it is the sharing of our lives with others, building relationships, that promotes consistent and long-lasting change. Resolutions that live on, now that’s a revolution! If you want your resolutions to be revolutionary, share them with others and ask them to hold you accountable. Share your resolutions with others who will also make them their resolutions, then do it together. This is the best shot you have at keeping your New Year’s resolutions. You can start a resolution revolution that not only impacts you, but someone else. That, my friend, is transformation! And if your car breaks down again,…you won’t walk home alone and you’ll have someone to blame. /:-) Better yet, if the resolution is kept, you have someone to celebrate with. 🙂 Good luck.