Every January, people all over America feel compelled to make resolutions. We all seem to understand that these resolutions should be positive changes that will transform our lives. We know the drill. Weight loss, exercise, healthy eating, spending time with your kids, saving money, and the list continues. We also know the stereotype of resolutions — most of us fail and give up by the beginning of February. In fact, studies have shown that the best time to get a good deal on exercise equipment is February. By then, those purchases made in the shadow of resolutions become eyesores in the room, and something else to walk around or hang clothes on.
I was pondering this very dilemma as the first of January loomed in front of me, even while the Christmas tree lights still glowed. Reading through the book of Galatians, though, I was struck by the fact that I often make resolutions focused on behavior. An external change. Which often leaves our internal lives in exactly the same spot they were the previous year. What could make this different?
In Galatians 5:16, God answers this question for us. He tells us to first focus on walking in the Spirit. When we focus on that, the second part of the verse becomes reality: We will not fulfill the cravings of the flesh, or our “unspiritual” nature. It was suddenly so clear to me! The resolution should simply be to focus on strengthening our individual relationships with God, and then our cravings that distract us from Him would vanish. Not immediately, and not overnight. But they would eventually be banished from us.
I found rich encouragement from this fact. The behaviors that take our energy and attention away from God and His Word are manageable. They are under our control. But only through our relationship with God, not separate from it.
I hope this encourages you, too. Failure is not an option. Why? Because God is not waiting for us to impress Him with our stringent resolutions and self-sacrifice. He simply delights in the time we spend with Him. And that is one resolution we can all fulfill. Here’s to success!