I love the occasion of New Years because it provides a wonderful time to reflect and make new commitments. Problems arise, though, when we make resolutions that are grandiose and unachievable. When we discover problems in our lives, we’re prone towards thinking, “I will NEVER do that again.” While such thinking might be rooted in good intentions, it is often naive.
A funny (yet pitiful) example of this in my life occurred during my freshman year in college. One night in my dorm I knelt to pray and, in a moment of raw passion, said, “God, I’ll do ANYTHING for you!” How foolish. A few minutes later I went down the hall to take a shower. We had community showers in my dorm (weird, I know). While showering, the gentlemen in the next stall over (who happened to be about a 6’2 football player) started mocking his girlfriend to another guy in a different shower stall. Why did he mock his girlfriend? Because she was a Christian. For some reason that I cannot remember, this football player found her behavior distasteful. He mocked her and her Christian faith. As I stood there, listening, my conscience screamed at me, “Stand up for this girl and for Christ, Chance! Say something!” I regret to inform you that I kept quiet. I was a coward. Rather than doing “anything” for God, I did nothing. I made a rash vow to God, and I failed to keep it.
So, dear Christian, as you think about your New Year’s resolutions, don’t be like me. Don’t make commitments to God or to other people that you cannot keep. Don’t make a commitment that is based upon some inflated view of yourself. Paul gives us this wonderful command, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Rom 12:3). Only make commitments that you can keep—both to God and to others. Don’t be rash with your commitments. Make commitments that are based upon a sober assessment of yourself.