Resolution – A formal expression by a meeting, agreed to by a vote; a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner.
Resolutions. Its the time of year when we all begin to think about ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. Gym memberships across the country skyrocket. We resolve every year to pay the credit cards down and get the weight down, and spend less time watching TV. We set goals on how many books we are going to read instead and recommit to reading the Bible through, for real this time. We think of the new year as a new beginning; A time when things can change for the better. Maybe this year will be different – maybe we will stay committed to reading the Bible and watching less TV, maybe we will pay off the credit card and start taking off the extra pounds. I doubt it!
I don’t mean to discourage anyone out there, but doesn’t it feel like a cycle destined to repeat itself? What would make this year different? I’m sure we’ve all heard the “doing the same thing but expecting different results” definition for crazy, right? What are we doing different this year that will make it different? If I continue to ride my bike and give a half way effort at weight watchers, I will not lose weight. What’s different this year?
I have sat in many church services, hearing the pastor preach that my life would never be the same – that just one moment with Jesus would change everything. For many people, this testimony bears true, but for me… I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I became a Christian when I was five years old. My struggles with life all happened as a Christian, so I come to the service with ‘baggage’. When the preacher says, it will never be the same – I think why not? I think that is a fair question. Why won’t it be the same? If I continue doing the same thing, I will get the same results – why should I expect different results this time? What is going to cause me to change my bad habits so that I’m doing something different this time to be able to expect different results?
When we are young we are idealistic. When we lose our idealisms, we call ourselves realists. As youth, we expect change. As I get older I find myself questioning whether or not change could really happen. I think this is a stage we go through before we hit acceptance. Accepting that things don’t change, won’t change, will never change. I feel I’m at that critical point many call mid-life, albeit a few years early. What must I do to be saved?
That’s what one person asked Paul thousands of years ago. What must I do? As Christians, we apply this question to one of conversion – What must I do to be a Christian. The story of the rich young man in Matthew chapter 19 has a similar question posed directly to Jesus – What must I do to inherit eternal life, but the guard in Acts chapter 16 didn’t refer to eternity. You may remember the story, Paul and Silas were thrown in jail for casting a devil out of a fortune-teller. While they were in prison, they began to worship God when suddenly there was an earthquake, and all the doors fell open and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer was going to kill himself when he saw the opened prison, but Paul stopped him. “What must I do to be saved?” Maybe this jailer was still thinking about the consequences of allowing the prison to open up on his watch. What must I do to be saved… from _____?
What must I do to be saved from ‘eating too much’? What must I do to be saved from ‘credit card debt’? What must I do to be saved from ‘realism’? What must I do to be saved from ‘my same old ways’? What will make this different from last year, last week, last night? Am I the only one asking these questions?