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On new year resolutions

BY RON BARTENAN ─ The following New Years conversation is from an old “For Better or Worse” comic strip. The family is seated around the breakfast table, and the father says: “Well, here we are in a brand-new year. I think we should all make some resolutions, don’t you?”
MOTHER: “O.K. I resolve not to criticize, to nag less and to bake more often.”

FAMILY RESPONSE: “Right on! Neat! Yeah!”

FATHER: “I resolve not to lose my temper, and to fix all the things in the house that need repairs.”

FAMILY RESPONSE: “Great! Okay!!!”

ELIZABETH: “I resolve to brush Farley (dog), to keep my room clean and not to fight with Michael.”


MICHAEL: “I resolve to play road hockey, hang out with my friends, and to watch TV.”

MOTHER: “Wait a minute! We all made real promises. Your resolutions are worthless.”

MICHAEL: “I know…but at least mine will be kept!”

It is quite easy to make resolutions; it is quite another thing to keep them. I saw a report on TV a few years ago that said January is the month in which more people sign up in aerobic and physical fitness clubs, and some never show up for the whole year. Others attend a few times and soon are seen no more.

However, the fact remains that making resolutions is a means of challenging ourselves to greater things. It is a good time to take inventory of our lives, and where we see a deficiency, to resolve to make the needed improvements. Someone once recommended the following “tips for success” in keeping one’s resolutions:

  • Make “bite size” goals you can keep.
  • Be realistic—avoid saying “never ever.”
  • Find an “anti-procrastination partner” to keep you from slipping.
  • Keep track of progress.
  • Don’t set too many goals.

I would add some more. Isaiah voiced the basic one: “Seek the Lord while He may be found: call upon Him while He is near” Isaiah 55:6.

Rather than materially concentrating on enriching ourselves, we should resolve to follow our Lord’s recommendation:

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33.

Resolve to look to the Lord for spiritual resources. What we cannot do of ourselves, the Lord can accomplish through us.

As Paul stated it: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13. And he didn’t even have to wait for a new year to do it!

From Ron’s email publication, “The Sower,” for 30 Dec.


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