It is that time again when people look back at the previous year, and vow to try to live a “better life.” It is time for "New Year's Resolutions!" Here is a list of uncommon resolutions I came across after a quick google search:
Don't get too Stressed-out or Stop being a Control Freak
Learn to Text Using My Thumbs
Grow Something from a Seed
Build the Ultimate Sandcastle
Taste as Many Unusual Meats as Possible
See my Name in Print or See my Name in Lights
Stop Making New Year's Resolutions
A dictionary defines resolution as a resolving or determining; deciding; decision as to future action; resolve. This sounds good, and it makes people feel good about themselves when they make “resolutions.” The problem is that they tend to be forgotten within just a few days, or weeks, at the most.
As Christians, we should be hesitant to make "resolutions," since they tend to be motivated by our own will and energized by our own power. I would, however, encourage you to try the ancient but effective recommendations found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This is one of about 70 New Testament commands to rejoice. Philippians 4:4 offers the expanded version of this imperative: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Rejoicing is a decision of the will. While happiness depends on circumstances, real joy is independent of happenings. We can rejoice because we know by faith that God is at work and in control, despite my present circumstances (see Romans 8:28).The key to rejoicing is the qualifier "in the Lord." I can't always rejoice in my circumstances, but I can rejoice in my position, standing, and relationship with the Lord!
Continually praying does not mean non-stop praying. It does not even require stopping an activity we are engaged to pray. It means a constant awareness of God's presence. Our prayers convey our worship, adoration, and praise. They communicate our humble acknowledgment of our need for God's help, direction, and provision. The fuller wording of this command can be found in Ephesians 6:18-20:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Some commentators argue that "the apostle Paul didn't say to give thanks 'for' all circumstances, but 'in' all circumstances." However, in Ephesians 5:20, he clearly states: "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." We can give thanks for all things because of God's character. He is sovereign, and He is good. God will cause all things to work together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Amid uncertain times, unpleasant situations, or undesirable circumstances, we can give thanks, knowing what He has promised us in the future and knowing that He is with us in the present.
Please note the last sentence of 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." This is almost certainly intended to modify all three of the previous imperatives, and that is the reason I can boldly recommend you make these your "resolutions" for 2021. We can and should continuously rejoice, continually pray, and consistently give thanks, even as we reflect on 2020 because God's will is always "good, pleasing and perfect."
Urian Rios - Teaching-Elder