Not Another New Year’s Resolution

I’ve not been big on New Year’s resolutions.

A resolution means “a firm commitment to do or not do something.” It also means “an act of solving a problem.” These sound like good things. However, the reality of resolutions is sad.

I remember joining the YMCA to get fit a few years back. In January and February, the place was packed. I had no idea what was going on since I had joined a few months before. Come March, everything was back to “normal.” Apparently, the New Year’s resolution has a 6-to-8 week lifespan.

Perhaps a resolution can be redeemed.

A couple months ago, I was thinking through all of what God had brought me through during the previous year. It was a year of learning how to follow God without knowing where I was going (like Abraham, see Hebrews 11:8). It ended up being a kind of resolution after the fact. But now, I found myself moving in many directions.

After prayer and talking through it with others, I’ve given a keyword to what 2014 will be for me – integration. As a resolution, I don’t believe it will solve all my problems or even be a clearly measurable decision to do or not do something. In other words, it’s not a very good resolution by definition.

Integration means “to combine one thing with another so that they become a whole.” Imagine if you could say that about your life. It also means “to bring people or groups with particular characteristics or needs into equal participation in or membership of a social group or institution.” Imagine if we could say this about our families and churches.

While integration may not be a very good resolution, it does sound like a very good way of life. It’s more of a life process. You might see it as a filter by which you can say “yes” or “no” to certain activities, paths or pursuits. It is a process by which you may come to make many resolutions throughout the year.

But here’s the rub – integration requires a starting point.

We can create our own focus, but that usually ends up with a failed resolution (like paying for 52 weeks at the gym and using it 8). Our identity and purpose cannot be determined by us, nor does it need to be. We have been given our identity and purpose as a gift from God through Jesus Christ.

So to that end, I’ve prayed and read the Scriptures asking God for a starting point for my year of integration. Something about The Epistle to the Colossians captured my heart and mind. After reading it several times over, it seemed very clear what my starting point is and should be.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV).

My identity and purpose are in Jesus Christ, and I am called to walk in him. To live as He would live and talk as He would talk. To be filled with compassion and serve others. To give glory to God and call others to do the same. “To combine one thing {the gospel} with another {my life} so that they become a whole.”

In Jesus, I’ve been rooted, built up, and established in my faith. I’ve been taught by faithful followers, and I am to teach others to be faithful followers. “To bring people {my family} or groups {my church} with particular characteristics or needs into equal participation in or membership of a social group {natural family} or institution {spiritual family}.”

In all these things, I should be “abounding with thanksgiving.” Thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ. Thankful for who He has made me to be. Thankful for the path He has called me to walk. Thankful for His presence with me every step of the way.

As I think about it, perhaps resolution is not what we really need most of all for this New Year. What we really need is Jesus – His precious life lived out in ours each and every day. {click to tweet}

This is my New Year’s integration.

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