By the time you read this, I’m sure quite a few New Year’s Resolutions will have been made and broken. Not so much the ones like “lose weight” or “eat more fruit” which can’t really be judged in the short term, but certainly the make-or-break ones like “stop smoking”.
That’s because resolutions require resolve! It’s not enough just to have a feeling that something would be a good idea – resolutions must spring from deep within us where our willpower wrestles with the force of habit and our fondness for instant gratification.
Will power must also battle with inertia, and impatience – we must be prepared to change, and we must be in it for the long haul. When two people marry, so popular songs have it, they say “I do” – well, they don’t! They say “I will” – they engage their willpower and look to the long term, not just the present moment.
A New Year’s Resolution that is actually worth making, and actually worth sticking to, is really more of a New Year’s Revolution – a turning away from how we have been to aim at what we intend to be.
The Biblical word for that turning is “repentance”. It may sound a little strange to think of “losing weight” as “repenting of eating so much” but that’s basically what it means!
Thinking about “New Year’s Repentance” opens up a whole range of possibilities which might not occur to us. How about resolving to be more humble, get angry less, be less greedy, to spend more time and resources on relationships than on things? These are far harder to measure than weight, or how often we eat our “five a day” but correspondingly far more long- and far-reaching in their impact on our community and our world.
Jesus called his followers to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. So how about if we all resolved to be brighter and more salty? More ready to challenge the dark, and more prepared to get stuck in and preserve our world from decay? That really would be a New Year’s Revolution!