Resolutions with substance

By January 15, 2008 culture No Comments

How happy to know that I’m not the only one yet mulling over 2008 resolutions! My blog stats show that readers are still frequenting these topics (see this one) and even continuing to search for them through tags.

Well, I’m still thinking of resolutions too! It’s only Day 15 of 2008 . . . and I certainly hope our attention spans are longer than a mere 15 days. I trust they are, so here’s one more musing about setting the heart and mind for action and discipline in the new year ahead.

On a previous post I mentioned the use of just one overarching resolution from which all others might flow. Implementing the 80/20 rule of restraint for reasoned-living not only makes sense, it places the responsibility in my hands and heart—it’s a progression rather than perfection, and I must decide to do what is most healthy for me and what is most glorifying to God (these happen to be the same thing!). For instance, yielding to temptation whenever it calls—whether that be food, laziness, and the like—ever weakens resolve and self-restraint. Long-term indulgence is poison to inner strength. Now I am seeing snacks and lounging as treats (rather than deserved perks for living my life); I’m looking ahead to those good things already on the calendar and setting my focus there, making it easier to make good choices in the moment.

This seems to differ from resolutions of mine from previous years, in which the goal is something a bit more surfacey (wanting to be ready for warm-weather clothing or a vacation, for example). The 80/20 sole resolution has at its root a heart issue: it’s the resolve to develop self-discipline and a mature mindset that is able to choose that which is most pleasing to God.

Maybe you have read the 70 resolutions of Jonathan Edwards that he adhered to as an ongoing practice—now these are resolutions worth keeping and renewing! How I would love to work toward a heart that produces resolves like that! The one I continue to ponder is:

25. Resolved, To examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.

This, along with my general 80/20 rule, would be a great focus for me in 2008. For when I doubt the love of God, I make bad choices and my heart wavers in trust toward Him. When I trust God’s love and care and provision, I can rise above the crisis of the moment and make choices that align with truth. Oswald Chambers said this:

“Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete.”

I love that! When I am trusting God’s hand to be sovereign over all and His Word to be true in regard to me, then I can launch out, reckless and free to truly live a life worth living. That’s what I want for 2008.

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