Some of us make New Year resolutions and achieve some of them. Others don’t bother because they never get achieved anyway. Still others of us make them, and break them, before the end of January. It doesn’t matter which group you are in, the beginning of the year is a good time to think about how you want this year to play out and what you can do about it.
Which is exactly what has been turning in my head as I move into the year. My pastor once suggested to us that instead of getting tied up in making a list of “nice to haves”, we make a few decisions that we know, if consistently achieved, will change the direction and fabric of our lives.
He said deciding to do something, or work towards something, is better than being stagnant. I agree with him since anything that is stagnant starts to stink and who would want a life that stinks! Rather achieve four out of a possible ten, than zero.
He also suggested that instead of saying for example: “I want to lose 10kg this year” we say: “I resolve to develop good eating habits that contribute to my health.” Like Daniel resolved to do in Daniel 1:8
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way.”
In the Amplified version it says “Daniel determined in his heart not to defile himself…” Daniel’s heart was convicted to live the way God wanted him to live in the Babylonian society, he made a decision for himself (he resolved) to live like this. He then took action based on that decision of his heart by asking the chief official for permission.
Daniel’s decision in his heart became the personal code that he lived by and made decisions out of. The chief official tested Daniel’s resolve and in the end Daniel’s decisions positioned him for great influence. It is interesting to note, that many years later, this resolve (decision of the heart) to live God’s way and not the way of the Babylonians, landed him in the lion’s den.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened towards Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Daniel continued to live his life as he resolved to live it: for God. He continued his practice of prayer and worship no matter what circumstances around him were.
I was challenged by this lesson. What would I resolve to work towards in my life? I know that during my quiet times I have resolved to do many things. I was challenged when I heard that famous men and women who changed the world (much like Daniel did) had their own personal handwritten list of these decisions (resolutions) of the heart that they lived by, that said… “I resolve to…” (See Benjamin Franklin’s list he made at 20 years of age below.)
What would my “I resolve to…” list be?
I sat down and did this exercise last year and I am going to look at it again in the next few days. I am also reminded of a previous lesson (or heart treasure) from the Lord. In “The heart regulates the hands” God taught me that all action flows from what the heart decides. I needed to remember that as the new year gains momentum, that my life and actions flow from decisions I have made in my heart, in His presence.
Then I can pick up my projects, lists and problematic circumstances, my “status quo” and move forward through them on the plumb line of the decisions I have taken in my heart, my own personal code, my resolutions, all designed in my relationship with Jesus.
Father, thank you for the guidance of Your Word and the wisdom of those who teach us. Thank you that Your Spirit guides my heart and my actions as I spend time in your presence. Thank you that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom in my life and that knowledge of You brings understanding to me on how to live my life.