A New Year’s resolution to keep l Worship

By Mark Smith, Mukilteo Presbyterian | Jan 03, 2018

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? Actually, New Year’s resolutions have become something of a joke, since very few of us actually keep them.

I read that 45 percent of Americans make a resolution of some kind and only 8 percent actually follow through.

We can relate to the cartoon in which a fellow at a New Year’s Eve party turns to a fellow partygoer, and with a horrified look on his face says, “It’s 12:15 and I’ve already broken all my resolutions!”

But not everyone has treated them so lightly.

At the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin knew he had to change the course of his life, so he created a list of four resolutions to follow.

He resolved to become more frugal so that he could save enough money to repay what he owed to others. He decided that he would be very honest and sincere, "In every word and action." He committed himself to be industrious, "To whatever business I take in hand." Lastly, he vowed, "To speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a manner of truth" and to "Speak all the good I know of everybody."

Out of these four resolutions, Franklin came up with a set of thirteen virtues, which he practiced methodically.

He wrote each of the virtues down in a book and practiced one of the virtues for a week, trying to perfect it. At the end of the week, he would evaluate his performance.

At the end of thirteen weeks, he would start back on the first virtue again.

Franklin’s desire to improve his character was admirable, but he was the first to admit that he often failed miserably.

Jonathan Edwards, the famous 18th century American theologian and preacher, was deadly serious about his resolutions and had no intention of ever breaking them.

He sat down at age of 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He added to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions.

He put at the top of his list this sentence: “Being aware that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I humbly ask him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions.”

Each week he reviewed his progress and sought God’s help in the process. Edwards’ commitment to keeping his resolutions contributed greatly to his spiritual growth.

Whether we make a formal resolution or not, it is still a helpful exercise to think about the course of our life and the kinds of things we want to work on for our personal growth. The New Year gives an opportunity to do a “mental reset” – to think freshly about our goals and priorities.

I would guess that a lot of our resolutions have to do with taking better care of our physical selves, but how about our spiritual selves? Can we resolve to do better in this vital area of our lives?

According to national surveys, Americans overall are quite fond of the Bible but don’t read it all that much. Why not resolve to actively read the Bible a little bit each day?

Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president once said,

 

“The Bible is the Word of life. I beg that you will read it and find this out for yourself. When you have read the Bible you will know it is the Word of God, because you will have found in it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.”

Take Wilson’s advice - dust off that Bible and read a little bit each day.

That’s a resolution worth keeping; it just might change your life!

 

 

 

 

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