I RESOLVE...

The anticipation of a New Year means many things for many people, but almost universally, it marks an opportunity to hit the re-set button within our lives.   Whether it is a weight loss/fitness objective, or a focused effort to manage money better, or a commitment to make better relationship-decisions, or go back to school, the New Year's season is a time make changes.

The concept of change is a constant thread throughout the Word of God as it is impossible for any of us to leave an encounter or interaction with God that same.  There is no doubt that God is a God of transformation.

Despite this Biblical truth about change, data suggest that more than half of all people who make resolutions to change on the first day of the new year have already fallen-short by the end of the first month, and nearly 90% have missed their resolution mark within six months.  Despite this disheartening data, there are some best-practices, that you may find helpful on the road to your personal New Year's resolution quest.

Set Reasonable Goals.  If God does not put more on us than we can bare, than why do we set unreasonable and unrealistic goals for ourselves.  If God is at the center for your resolution to change, then rest assured, that He would never plant unattainable goals into your mind.  Reasonable goals might include establishing realistic and healthy weight-loss goals, employing a strategy of portion control that helps you develop more responsible dietary practices, or establishing a reasonable budget to help you spend less, save more, but still do many of the things you enjoy socially.  The first step to maximizing your New Year's resolution success is to establish God-scripted, reasonable and attainable goals.

Celebrate The Small Victories.  On many earthly and Heavenly levels, your desire to change as manifested by the resolutions that you make, represent areas of struggle, conflict and spiritual warfare.  Similarly, the path to change is a marathon and not a sprint.  Your marathon journey from your 'now' to your "next" will have ups and downs, defeats and victories.  Though the defeats are inevitable and should be analyzed, they should never paralyze you.  Each victory on the road to achieving your resolution goals should be celebrated as it becomes the fuel for your continued forward-movement and your next-step in the journey.  Do not allow anyone or anything to silence your desire to celebrate the small victories, because even the small victories affirm that you are making progress and heading in the right direction..

Trust God.  New Year's resolutions illuminate the difference between "good-ideas" and "God-ideas".  Good ideas are often well-thought, well-planned and well-intentioned.  But good-ideas do not require God to achieve.  "God-ideas", on the other hand, are impossible to achieve without the hand of God.  If your resolutions are attached to God-ideas, then they will absolutely be difficult because it is in the difficulty that we learn to trust in God.  Challenges during your journey are not indications of God's disapproval or displeasure, but rather, they are God-scripted moments that are intended to strengthen our trust in a God whose promises are "yes" and "yes".

Acknowledge The Source of Your Resource.  If every good a perfect thing is from the Lord, then your successful achievement of a New Year's resolution goal is no different.  Yes, your hard work and determination has paid dividends, but the Bible reminds us that behind the scenes, God is always watching, warring and working to make sure that His promises come to pass in our lives.  Acknowledge God in and through any and all victories keeps us centered on the reality that without God, victory is impossible.  The more we praise God for His role in our victories, the more we think about His awesomeness, and the more we think about our amazing, incredible, undefeated and unmatched God, the more motivated we become to continue to keep moving forward in His direction.

Resolutions are God's way of reminding us that all of us are favored despite our flaws.  God promised to be with us in and through every step, often carrying us when we are to weak or shaken to keep pressing forward.  God will absolutely finish what He started.  You need only remain faith-filled, focused and forward-moving.  If you do, you will reach the space and season where your desire intersects with God's plan for your life.  And when that happens, your testimony will be that there is no limit to what MY GOD can do!

   - Pastor Conti
Reverend Christopher Conti, MD is the Pastor of Emmanuel Pittsburgh and a licensed emergency medicine physician, author & Christian life coach.