Every year I recall with warmth the exciting days as the co-host of “The 700 Club” with Pat Robertson. Every January, as we began a new season of broadcasting, Pat would ask, “Ben, did you make any new resolutions this year?”
Of course I had, because, as you well know, most of us traditionally make “New Year’s resolutions.” As the new year dawns, we resolve, we promise, we threaten, we hope, we write down lists, make more rash promises, tape statements on our mirrors and refrigerators, write in diaries and sometimes even repeat them to ourselves daily (for about a week) and then it’s back to business as usual. Most of us don’t really expect things will be all that different next year. Next “New Year” we look back and discover that for the most part, nothing has changed, our resolutions were all in vain, and the real surprise is, we aren’t really surprised.
Having gone through this exercise in futility on many occasions, I came up with a plan that I have diligently followed over the years. The last time Pat asked me if I had made any resolutions my reply was a resounding “Yes, I have … one!” “Well what is it?” he asked. I looked him right in the eye and said, “I have firmly resolved never to make any more New Year’s resolutions.” And to this day, even though I am no longer on “The 700 Club,” I have managed to keep that resolution faithfully.
How? I found a better way.
Warning! Religious material ahead!
As a born-again believer (someone who has a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ), I can access a number of promises that transcend times and seasons and I have the privilege of starting over every single day – not just once a year, but each day of every year. Every failing, every mistake, every misstep, every failed resolution gets washed away in forgiveness at the end of the day when (and if) I “fess up.” Every morning, I wake up with a clean slate, able to start fresh all over again. Here’s why: “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning ….” (Lamentations 3:21-26).
“New every morning“? Yes, new every morning. Think about that: God’s mercies, His compassion, His forgiveness begins anew every day. So every stupid action, every wayward thought, every harsh word or, as a denomination I once belonged to called it, “every sin of commission or omission,” is all covered by His “compassion which fails not,” and His “mercies which are new every morning.”
So, based on that, I don’t wait for the New Year to make resolutions. When I wake up in the morning, it means God apparently didn’t consider my life such a waste that he wiped it out. He gave me a chance to fix/forget all about and build on yesterday as I choose. Knowing that He gives me mercy “sufficient unto the day,” I am not plagued by things that are past nor tormented by fear of things yet to come. Perhaps that sounds selfish, but every believer has the right and the privilege and the ability to live in full, rich and airtight “todays.” Tomorrow is not promised, and the past is finished. What happened yesterday is past, finished, done with, finis! What is to come tomorrow may not come tomorrow. As one man said, “A lot of bad things tormented me in my life, some of which actually happened.”
May I encourage you? When your eyes ease open tomorrow morning or they are snapped open by the alarm clock, pause, take a deep breath and seize the day! Look, I mean really look at that beautiful sunrise. Wow! It’s raining? Great! The earth, grass and flowers need rain. Snow? Wonderful! It’s beautiful, plus it kills off those pesky fleas and mosquitoes. (Did God really invent those?!)
Take a look at this new day, breathe deeply, stand on your tippy toes, physically and/or mentally, and say (and mean it!) “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24).
Finally, if you really must make a resolution, then let me confess and seemingly contradict myself; I did, and do, make a resolution every year, every month, every day. Join me and firmly resolve to make the rest of your life the best of your life! Your life, your choice. Then you can look back next year and say loudly and clearly to yourself (and others, if you choose) “resolution kept.”