Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

When Resolutions Become Turbo Shots, Driving You Towards Your Idol

It’s a new year with a clean slate and 2014 has no mistakes in it yet.

snow 1:14
My back yard this morning!

I woke to a foot of snow this morning and was reminded how the snow covers all the flaws of our back yard and makes it beautiful, just like the blood of Jesus cleanses us and covers us and makes our sin look whiter than snow.

A new year also means that many of us are making changes. Resolutions can be a great tool. But I’m afraid that too often resolutions are just “turbo shots” of selfishness that propel us to cling closer to our idols.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it was totally true of me.

My first resolution is always to lose weight. In my mind, I’d be happier if I were 20 lbs lighter. Then comes being more organized, saving money and being more intentional about our ministry life and family life.

These are all good things, don’t get me wrong. But good goals guided by bad motives will  bring you further into the sin you’re already entangled with. 

Because at any moment, my ruling idol guides me and I am all too willing to serve it. And here’s the hitch…too often, I’m self deceived about my own motives. I think my goals are good when in fact, they’re driven by sinful desires.

  • Losing weight is fine, but not if my motive is to be thinner than the next girl, or to draw attention to myself. Looking for acceptance by a number on the scale is dangerous.
  • Organizing is fine as long as I’m not masking a desire to be in control of every aspect of my house. Or trying to promote the image that I have it all together.
  • Saving money is fine as long as I’m not looking for more ways to get more stuff for myself, hoarding up treasures for my greedy heart.
  • Being intentional about ministry is great, but not if I’m trying to control my level of “commitment” which is code for being completely in control of my calendar, only willing to serve when the conditions are perfect to me, me, me.

As I was thinking about my resolutions, I realized that so many of them reveal “what I cling to and confide in” for security, and it was pretty shallow.

My resolutions need to be all about my Master, and doing His will, because I am no longer my own, I was bought with a price. 

Do my resolutions show a heart that is  :

  • 100% sold out for Jesus Christ? or that is self-seeking
  • seeking His good and glory? or my own praise and benefit
  • completely satisfied in Him? or looking for earthly treasures to fill heart-voids that only Christ can fill?
  • passionate about His service? or intent on my own small k-kingdom building?
  • determined to root out sinful tendencies from my life? or oblivious to sin in my own heart?
  • ready to love others like Christ loved me? or only love those who are easy to love.
  • ready to honor His Word and Ways as the path that brings me life? or taking it as a another helpful tool that I may or may not heed.

I was pricked in my heart when I read these resolutions from Jonathan Edwards:

  • Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.
  • Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence.
  • Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
  • Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
  • Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
  • Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year.
  • Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.
  • Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.
  • Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

Our resolutions have an impact. They can either make us rely more on ourselves and drive us deeper into self-dependency, pride and self-rule, or they can drive us to the cross to find help and hope and strength in Christ.

We are not hopeless to act or change. We must change. But the motivation must be right or the course of our lives will be all wrong.

I’m mulling over resolutions, yes, but they mostly involve being faithful to the same old resolutions I’ve had my entire Christian life: to love God fully and love others well. To put self aside and treasure the Bible as I should.

What about you? Did you find that your resolutions were revealing?