The gym has been packed lately. Rows of treadmills and gliders churning with sweaty passengers. The aerobics classes are also full, and you practically have to stand in line for the stomach cruncher. It happens every year, fueled by the best of intentions. However, by spring it’ll be back to normal.
What would a new year be without resolutions? I always cringe, not because I have nothing to correct, alleviate, or improve upon, but because I know myself all too well. Which leaves me wondering, once again, whether or not it is wiser to simply abstain from resolving anything.
I know, it’s a contradiction. How can I grow towards something if I don’t have an objective in mind. But the gulf between the man I am and the man I should be is rather large. Make that vast. In fact, it could be argued that, on earth, I will never be all that I can be. So striving for perfection will always end in disappointment. In this way, not making resolutions sort of becomes its own resolution.
But aren’t we told to “fight the good fight” (I Tim. 6:12), to “press toward the mark” (Phil. 3:14), and to lay aside sin and “run the race set before us” (Heb. 12:1)? Absolutely. But we are also told that we will never achieve any of it. The apostle Paul wrote, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Yes, we are doomed to constantly “fall short.” It’s why James said, “We all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2) and then encouraged us to “Confess [our] faults one to another, and pray one for another” (James 5:16). Whatever goal we’re aiming at, we will surely “stumble” along the way. Which is why we must be constantly confessional in our attitudes and relationships. And run the race with “patience.”
Jonathan Edwards resolved 70 things. The list is daunting. Resolving to never lose a moment of time (#5). Resolving to eat and drink in the best possible way (#’s 20 and 40). Resolving to never speak evil of anyone (#16). Resolving to never be listless (#61). Resolving to bring God the utmost glory (#1). Resolving to repent if any of these resolutions are not kept (#3). Edwards’ resolutions are intimidating. Terrifying. Borderline ridiculous.
And absolutely necessary.
So is it futile to make such resolutions knowing you will break every single one of them? Maybe. But not making any resolutions seems far more dangerous.
Thus, my resolutions for 2010: Keep moving, keep plugging, keep striving, keep struggling, keep loving and learning and hoping. And keep confessing when I miss the mark… which will be over and over and over again.