Summary: As you enter into a new year you’re probably thinking of some resolutions you’d like to make. Along with that are probably the thoughts of all the resolutions you’ve broken. This message challenges us to think about what God’s resolution is for us!
READ AT BEGINNING OF SERVICE:
Ephesians 1:3-10 (NIV)
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Have you ever wondered what people exactly mean when they say that they have a New Year’s Resolution? I have! So I went to the dictionary to discover what resolution means. Resolution is defined as the act or process of resolving, the act of solving and determining or deciding on a course of action. Plain and simple, it means to find a solution to a problem and decide to put that solution in place. So, when people say they have a New Year’s resolution, they plan on fixing a problem in their life. This sounds like a good idea to me. I have even tried to keep a few New Years Resolutions, and do you know what? It doesn’t always work! I don’t know about you, but I have found that trying to change something in my life, is not always in my control!
Often times there is a wide gap between what we think are possible resolutions we should make for ourselves and what others think…
There was a couple who were sitting with a marriage counselor for their first session and the good doctor asked them to identify what seemed to be the root of their problems. The wife responded, "It all started when we thought it would be cute to think up each other’s New Year’s resolutions" (Houston Post, 12/31/91, quoted in Autoillustrator.com, NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS/FAULT FINDING.)
And there is even the wider gap between the resolutions we make and the ones that we actually follow through on.
As I pondered on the message for this Sunday, I was thinking about this whole concept of New Year’s Resolutions and it struck me that a lot of our resolutions are centered on bettering ourselves. Think about it. Most of the resolutions we make are more about the all important me – and improving, or trying to improve, the quality of life for ourselves. And yes, these goals we set are often good goals – goals that would be admirable and often lead to a better quality of life not only for ourselves but for those around us as well.
But then, as the year rolls around isn’t it funny how when those resolutions become empty shells we often shift the blame to someone or something else for it’s unfulfillment! And then it’s so easy to say, "Next year will be different!"
As I pondered all this, my heart seemed to be settling on something God was speaking to me about. A question kept popping up in my mind, "What about God? What is His resolution for my life?" Indeed, as I thought about it, I realized that no matter what resolution I made for the New Year – if it wasn’t centered in his desire and plan for my life then it would amount to nothing. Yet, if my resolutions are founded on the instruction of the Holy Spirit then I can find strength and resolve in the Lord’s completing those resolutions through me in the New Year!
Certainly these are powerful truths - but then I started to think further and the question began surfacing, "but what is God’s resolution for my life?" I quickly found that this is a question that isn’t easily answerable. I mean, it’s not like God was spelling out a list for me that took me from A-B outlining what his specific desires were for me in the next year. Certainly a good place to begin looking would be in God’s word – but then you can be quickly overwhelmed with the number of commands and instructions found within. "be holy", "do not lie", "give generously", "be pure", "be righteous" – how can I be all these things? And then I think to myself, "okay, if this is what God wants then I resolve that this year I will…" But then we’re right back to the cycle of making the resolution and then breaking it. In fact looking back upon previous year’s you often find this cycle repeated over and over again. Sometimes it seems better to resolve nothing in order to gain something.