As another year rolls by, another season of New Year’s Resolutions begin. Ads appear on Facebook for exercise equipment and program memberships. Meanwhile, magazines encourage readers to do more, eat less, and buy whatever it takes to help them accomplish it.
It’s good to set goals. In a world of apathy, it’s healthy to pursue worthy challenges. Sometimes, things simply need to change. No amount of propaganda about tolerance or acceptance removes that fact. Besides, it’s fun to see stories about people who achieve their goals.
The Problem with Resolutions
But resolutions can be less about setting goals and more about the desire to feel accepted. People want to feel loved and that they belong. This is probably why most people admit that their goal to lose weight is less about health and more about their desire to look good on the beach!
Companies know this, which is why every January they prey on Americans and convince them they are not good enough, and that in order to become better—or at least more like everyone else, they must become thinner, buffer, smarter, wiser and better travelled.
No wonder so many resolutions fail. People realize—usually around February—that becoming thinner or smarter is not only hard, but also fails to make them feel the way the commercials promised. People still struggle with insecurity even after weeks of weight loss, so why go through so much effort if the feeling of unworthiness remains?
There is no such thing as “self-help.” It’s an oxymoron. There’s no subscription, no program, and no five-step plan that will ever give people what they truly want, because what they truly want can only be found in the One who created that desire to begin with. It can only be found in Jesus.
What people try to fix through exercise and reading programs can only be solved through what Christ did on the Cross. That sense of self-worth and value can only be found in intimacy with Him. He did not wait to see if they could go a month without drinking soda, or read the whole Bible in a year. He didn’t wait to see if people could become better. He knew only He could make them better.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Should people still set New Year’s Resolutions? Of course! Lose that weight; learn that foreign language! But don’t do it to achieve a sense of betterment—look to God for that. Pursue lofty challenges because you serve a great Savior and wish to honor Him with your life, health, finances, and hobbies.
When you succeed in your resolutions, tell the world about the One you did it for. And when the failures come—when the will to diet breaks, when the strength to keep running stops—rest in the warm reminder that God has already resolved to love you. Not because of who you are, but because of who He is.
Resting in Him,