Dear members and friends of VP,
The beginning of a New Year, 2019, has arrived. Resolutions are typically considered of value if they are healthy and achievable. It is true that most people fail to keep resolutions. But is also true that without resolutions we accomplish very little. The definition of “resolution” informs why resolutions are an essential component of our life. A resolution is:
“A firm decision to do or not to do something.”
The truth is that we would do nothing if we were not resolved to do something. My first resolution this morning was to make a healthy breakfast and eat it. It is good that I have resolved to make regular healthy eating a habit in my life. My health depends upon this resolution. This is one example of a healthy resolution.
By making and keeping resolutions we are exercising self-control and displaying our ability to discipline our bodies. Discipline is a very important component of the Christian life. Scripture states that discipline is good for us because it produces something of value. The Apostle Paul said he intentionally disciplined his body so that he was producing something of value to Jesus Christ.
“I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”1 Corinthians 9:27
“Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness”1 Timothy 4:7
Paul was excited to see all Christians live a disciplined and faithful life. He wrote the following to the Colossians.
“For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”Colossians 2:5
He told Timothy discipline was the product of the Holy Spirit living in the Christian.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”2 Timothy 1:7
So resolutions are very healthy if are resolved to discipline ourselves in order to accomplish them. What kinds of resolutions are beneficial to becoming like Jesus? The beginning of a New Year is as good a time as any to make these resolutions. Let me suggest
- Obviously the first resolution would be to know Jesus better. It is what Jesus calls “Abiding in Him” in John 15:1-8. The result of abiding in Jesus is bearing fruit pleasing to Him. So the resolution is a resolution with a promise attached to it.
The discipline required to keep this resolution is relatively simple. It involves a commitment to regularly listening to Jesus by studying the gospels and paying particular attention to what Jesus tells us to do. We can do this any time of the day: morning, noon or night. And we can do it any day of the week, several days a week or every day. It can be a short time or a long time. Some people spend 10-15 minutes multiple times a week. I personally prefer sitting down for an hour or two several times a week so that I can really listen an meditate on what Jesus says. This resolution is easy to accomplish because we have so much flexibility.
- The second resolution would be to do something that serves the healthy building up of the Body of Christ; the Church. This is a resolution that involves simple obedience to Jesus. He modeled it for us (John 13:12-17). Jesus says it reflects our love and commitment to Him and is the most important reflection of our commitment to Him (John 13:34-35; 15:12-17).
This resolution involves sacrificial discipline. It is what we will do for Jesus at the expense of self-service. It requires the expenditure of energy that we are accustomed to investing in ourselves. But it is a resolution to discipline ourselves in order to serve children of God simply because they are important to Jesus. “Serving” the brethren will cost us something. But acts of service will make our Lord and Savior proud of us and they will prove we are committed to Him as disciples.
We have many options for expressing our commitment to keeping these resolutions. We can be confident that they will produce something pleasing to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let us, together, discipline our bodies to do more for Him in the year to come. May God be glorified in us.