For about ten years I was considered by a certain magazine to be a freelance writer, but I worked for them almost as a staffer, every issue churning out an assignment of one kind or another. Then I got an assignment to write a feature for the winter issue, focusing on New Year’s resolutions. Ah, there’s the rub.
If there is one part of writing nonfiction that I love, it’s the research, whether its Bible study or researching the historical or social matters related to the article. I love it and tend to go way overboard, spending many more hours that are really necessary to get the needed information.
When I worked on that article about New Year’s resolutions, I struggled, because the more research I did, the more it appeared they did not have a place in God’s plan. At least resolutions as they are commonly understood, a person articulating a change he or she is going to make in life, and generally God does not have a place in the resolution.
I’ll skip to the end of this story. I wrote the piece; they paid me for it, but they did not publish it. It appeared that I did not come to the conclusion they wanted. Still I do not regret all that work, and I came to a couple of conclusions. God wants our word to mean something. He wants our yes to mean yes, our no to mean no, not maybe or if things work out that way. He wants us to be people of integrity.
Then, He wants to be a part of every decision we make. He wants to matter always, not just sometimes. There is nothing wrong with saying, “With God’s help, and as it pleases and glorifies Him, I want to honor Him by eating more healthily this year.” If you want to call that a resolution, go ahead.
As I thought about this concept this morning, God brought these verses in Matthew to mind, and I really believe they cover it all. If we are love God with our heart, soul and mind, then every aspect of our lives will be submitted to Him. Furthermore, if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we will be creating an environment where God will be glorified and His message made more credible.
So, don’t ask me if I made any resolutions this year. However, you can ask me if there’s anything in particular that I am praying about. It is this, that God will help me to be aware of my desire to love Him and others, and to help me choose behaviors that are consistently loving: to God first, and then to all those He has placed in my life.