By A.B. Vines
The act of making New Year’s resolutions isn’t really that new.
Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, saying they’d return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus (which is where the word January comes from).
In medieval times, knights took a “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
And at watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making resolutions.
Despite the historical prevalence of setting beginning-of-the-year goals, it seems few people are actually able to make good on their promises. Studies show that 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions or goals fail. It begs the question, “How do we get the job done this coming year?”
One thing I suggest is to make fewer goals. Choose two or three at the most. And here’s the kicker: have a trusted friend hold you accountable.
With some accountability and guidance from Scripture, I think you can find success when it comes to fulfilling your resolutions this coming year.
Remember the Purposes of God for our Lives
I’d like to share with you what the Word of God says in the book of Joshua about fulfilling your purpose.
After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to his assistant Joshua saying, “Moses my servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites” (Joshua 1:1-2).
Joshua was probably depressed that his mentor and leader had passed away. But God gave Joshua a small glimpse into his purpose to lead Israel into the Promised Land.
In reminding Joshua of the obvious—that Moses was dead—God showed Joshua it was time for him to step up and fulfill his purpose. Likewise, in order for us to move on and move up we must listen for the purpose God has for our lives.
Whatever happened to you in 2018, I want you to know it’s over. Now is the time for you to move on and move up. Remind yourself of the purpose of God for your life. This will help you make right decisions as you move forward into 2019.
Remember the Promises of God for our Lives
The second thing we see in this passage is God saying, “I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea” (Joshua 1:3-4).
We need to listen for the promises of God for our lives. When you have the promises of God on your side, you can’t lose. The Lord told Joshua that everywhere the soles of his feet landed would become the property of the Israelites.
What a great inspiration! And it’s a great way for us to live. Go into every situation seeing it half-full instead of half-empty.
We should live our lives with this type of attitude, knowing that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). His promises by His Word should help us live our lives in such a way that we walk with our heads a little higher, our minds a little clearer, and our focus a little sharper.
And so, as you think through 2018 and begin to set your mind towards 2019, keep these reminders in view as you begin to set goals and resolutions for another year.
DR. A.B. VINES (@DrABVines) has been the pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego for the past 13 years and was elected first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Vines currently serves as president of the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) and is a trustee at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He is husband to Karen, the father of four, and “PaPa” to nine.