Summary: Does God care about the resolutions you make this New Year? Yes! Does God care if you keep your resolutions or not? Yes! A look at how Daniel found the strength to stand by his resolution. Christ’s desire is to change your life for the better.
Ringing in the New
By Rev. Dan Mahan
Col 3:9-10 “You have taken off the old self with it practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge and in the image of its Creator.”
It’s time to make New Year resolutions. Have you made yours yet? Last New Years I made 6 resolutions and I am proud to say that I kept them all year long. I kept them in an envelope in the top drawer of my desk!
Most of us will end up breaking any New Year Resolutions we make. We feel bad about breaking them, but it is not easy to keep resolutions, is it? It takes effort, sacrifice and determination to keep these resolutions. Webster’s Dictionary defines “resolution” as a firm decision. It is a strong commitment to a course of action.
I have found 10 New Years Resolutions that I think we can all keep.
1. Gain weight, at least 30 pounds.
2. Stop exercising. It’s a waste of time.
3. Read less. It makes you think.
4. Stop cooking. You should eat out more.
5. Get more credit cards.
6. Break at least one traffic law.
7. Focus on the faults of others.
8. Sleep in every chance you get.
9. Go on a chocolate-only diet
10. Never make New Year’s resolutions again.
This week, people will be making resolutions of changes they wish to make for the New Year. Some of the most common are to get out of debt and to quit smoking. A young man was at a New Year’s party. He asks his friend for a cigarette. The friend replied “I thought you made a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking,” The young man answered ’I’m in the process of quitting, Right now, I am in the middle of phase one.” “What’s phase one?” his friend asked. The young man replied. “I’ve quit buying.”
Another common resolution is to lose weight. It is not easy to stick to a diet, is it? Daniel knew about eating healthy and about diets (not THIS Daniel, obviously!). Daniel knew how hard it is to stick to a diet. We say “I’M going to stick to this diet if it kills me” For Daniel and his friends, death was indeed a possibility. The first “Vegi-Tale” story is found in the first chapter of Daniel. Daniel is a great example of what it means to make a resolution and stick to it.
Daniel’s people were taken to a foreign country. The king was determined to teach the Israelites to dress, eat, & live like the Babylonians. He was determined they would follow all the religious customs of the Babylonians. The king began by selecting the best and brightest of the young Jewish men to be trained in the Babylonian ways. His reasoning was that if these select few were converted to Babylonian ways, the rest of the Israelites would follow suit.
But Daniel makes a resolution. In Daniel 1:8, we read: “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the Royal food and wine.” Daniel asked that he and his friends be tested for 10 days. After ten days of eating their diet of veggies and water, they would be compared with the others who ate the king’s royal food to see who was the healthier and better nourished of the two groups. Daniel and his friends—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego- made a resolution that would better themselves.
This week, many will be making new resolutions for this year. These resolutions may involve healthy choices. They may include financial changes, promises to study more, or to spend more time with parents or children. They may include less complaining-the purpose of our whining bracelets. These resolutions may be resolutions of ways to improve our health, lifestyle or ways to better ourselves. I believe any resolution we make that will better ourselves, any resolutions that will make us a better person-pleases God!
Sadly, too often while making resolutions we remember only the physical. We forget those resolutions that will make us a better person spiritually. Will these resolutions include decisions to attend church more regularly, to begin attending Sunday School or get involved in a Bible study? Will there be resolutions to start a daily quiet time, to pray more, to tithe or to serve the Lord more? Will your resolutions this year include ways to learn more about Christ and to draw nearer to Him? Any resolution we make that improves our relationship with God, greatly pleases the Lord.
For Daniel and his friends their resolutions was more than a health issue or a choice to eat healthy food. To adapt to the Babylonian ways would be compromising their beliefs. They knew this would affect their relationship with God. God was pleased with Daniel’s determination to stick by his resolution. The Scriptures tell us that God blessed Daniel and his friends. Not only were they healthier and better nourished than the other young men that ate the king’s royal food, but God also blessed them with knowledge and understanding. The king questioned these young men and found them to be ten times better in wisdom and understanding than his top advisers.