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Why do we even bother making these resolutions? I believe it's because we have noticed something in our life that we want to change. We see that our life isn't measuring up to our expectations or desires.
It's that time of year again. Time to make the old New Year's Resolutions. I wonder if I can remember last year's resolutions…hmmm…. Oh yeah: "Spend more time with my family." Well, I did pretty good on that one. What about "Lose some weight"? Not so good…I gained a few pounds. What else? Uhhh…let's see…umm…err…OK, I admit it: I can't even remember most of them!

The point is this: we often make these resolutions quite flippantly. It's not as if we don't mean them when we make them. It's just that we lack the follow through to complete them. It has been suggested that the average New Year's Resolution is abandoned anywhere between three days and three weeks (how are you doing so far this year?). We are quite proficient at making promises we can't (or don't) keep. 

We discard our marriages, friendships and commitments when they become inconvenient. We live in a litigious society, and for good reason. We don't dare sign a contract until our lawyers scrutinize it. Don't get me wrong, in legal and financial matters this is very important; but it is also a prime example of the sad state of affairs in our world today.

Why do we even bother making these resolutions? I believe it's because we have noticed something in our life that we want to change. We see that our life isn't measuring up to our expectations or desires. Often it's a pain threshold issue. John Maxwell says that one of the main times people change is that they hurt enough that they have to. As the old saying goes: We're "sick and tired" of being "sick and tired"!

The problem is that we often misdiagnose the problem and only change external things. It's like the true story of a 2-year old who was diagnosed with asthma and upper respiratory infections. He was treated with first this type of medicine and then that. The unfortunate child was run through the ringer of medical treatments.

One day as he came in for yet another test and further treatment, an older, more experienced doctor gave him a thorough physical checkup. As the doctor checked his nose he saw something unusual. Upon further inspection and subsequent extraction he found a jelly bean had been lodged deep inside one of the boy's nostrils. When he asked the boy how it got there, the boy said, "My older brother put it there." The jelly bean had apparently been there for about six weeks. Now there is now a large sign in the physician's lounge of that hospital which reads, "Always check noses for jelly beans!"

When we only make changes externally and not internally, we may control the undesirable behavior, but the problem still exists. The problem will just rear its ugly head in some other area of our lives. It's like the carnival game Whack-A-Mole (You know…the game where you have a mallet and try to whack the "moles" as they pop up out of an assortment of holes). If you beat down a problem here, another resurfaces somewhere else. When you finally control that one, yet another one pops up. And so on, and so on, and so on…until (hopefully) you finally take a long hard look at the common denominator of all these problems.

We are notorious for opting for the quick fix. Our bookstores are filled with book after book on how to reinvent yourself or how to solve all your problems or how to get more organized in just seven easy steps. I sometimes wonder if we shouldn't be checking out "twelve step" programs instead!  The problem with a quick fix is that it can't solve a problem that took a lifetime to build. I often tell people in counseling settings, "If it took you a while to get into this mess, it'll take you a while to get out of it."

One of the things that is so great about God is that He has never relied on the quick fix. He isn't content to put a band-aid on cancer. He always goes to the heart of the problem. If we'll let Him, He will do radical surgery and then begin the healing process.

A sketch from TV's Saturday Night Live show is about a guy named Stuart Smalley. When he feels insecure, he looks into a mirror and tells himself, "You're good enough; you're smart enough; and gosh darn it, people like you." It makes for great comedy but it's dead wrong. We're not smart enough, good enough, strong enough, good looking enough, popular enough, well-connected enough, rich enough, etc. to earn a relationship with the one true God (who is perfect). The reason Jesus came is that we don't have the ability to fix ourselves. We couldn't reach up to Him so He reached down to us.

God didn't settle for the quick fix of simple amnesty for our sins. If so, we would've gotten ourselves into the same predicament again. He knew the way to change a life is to change the inside of a person. He dealt with the sin problem by dealing with the heart of man. When we give our lives to Christ, He gives us a heart transplant. Our old diseased heart, which is the cause of all of our problems, is removed and a new heart, one that is soft and responsive to Him, is placed inside of us.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 11:19)
Yes, all the sin is forgiven (erased!), and we get a new start. But now things can be different. If we will but follow Him, we can avoid the self-destructive tendencies that have been our pattern for so long. Here is the hard part: God's ways are contrary to our selfish ways. We have to retrain our minds to serve and obey Him. The good news is that God has committed Himself to the growth process in our lives. He has sent His Holy Spirit to help us. (John 14:15-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-14)

So… what will my resolutions be this year? At the top of the list is to get to know God more intimately through reading the Bible, prayer, spiritual disciplines such as fasting (doing without something I enjoy and instead spending that time seeking God) and community. I am going to spend even more time with my family. I have even set a goal for the number of people I want to win to Christ this year. I'm also going to concentrate on doing the things that matter, rather than just what is urgent. And, I might as well try to shed a few pounds while I'm at it.

If you have never given your heart to Christ, start this new year out right by giving Him your heart and your life! All you have to do is pray to Him and ask Him to come into your life as your forgiver (for the wrongs you've done), your friend (who will never give up on you or abandon you) and the leader of your life (the One who is in control).

If you have walked away from a relationship with Him, simply confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness. First John 1:9 says that if you will come back to Him and confess your sin and repent of it (turn your back on it), He will restore the broken relationship and the broken fellowship between you and Him. Why don't you come back home where your heart belongs today.

John Perrin Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Jon Perrin
Web site: Perrin Ministries
Jon and Robin Perrin met at Bible school. They have over 25 years of ministry experience. Besides their family, their greatest passion is empowering leaders and mobilizing churches to reach the unchurched.

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