I read a story some time ago about a high school principal. At the beginning of a new year he decided to post his teachers’ New Year’s resolutions on the bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board to read one another’s resolutions, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining: “Why weren’t my resolutions posted?” She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. Her first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
Or how about this one? A son called his parents from overseas to wish them a happy new year. When his Dad answered the phone, he asked his Dad: ”Well Dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution?” His Dad replied: “To make your mother as happy as I can all year.” When his Mom got on the phone he asked her the same question. His Mom replied: “My resolution is to see that your Dad keeps his New Year’s resolution.”
The New Year is the time to make resolutions. Some people think it is not a good idea to make such resolutions because they are just good intentions that can easily be broken. Life is so busy and by the end of the month of January you have forgotten all about your good intentions. If we make New Year’s resolutions we must remember that they must not only be real but also manageable.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians gives us a positive resolution. He gives us something to think about in chapter 4:1 where he encourages us to “….stand fast in the Lord”. By standing fast he means that we are to be alert, not sitting down or lying down, but standing fast. He wants us to be alert and watchful each day of this New Year. It’s an appeal for steadfastness. Paul, knowing how prone we are to fall, encourages us to stand firm in the Lord by His power and strength. That is to be our resolution not only for the first day of the year but for each day of 2020 and thereafter. Let us cleave to Christ and lean on His strong arm. He is our sure foundation where we can stand safe and secure.
Joshua urges the people of Israel to resolve to serve the Lord. That was his resolution and he wants all the people to take this resolution on board and make it their own. We read about this in Joshua 24:15 where Joshua reminds the Israelites about what God has done for them since the beginning; how He brought Abraham into a new land and how He delivered the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage and how He led them into the Promised Land.
And here is what Elijah said about that: “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). So resolve this day who you are going to serve.
When it comes to resolutions, perhaps the best list I’ve ever read was written by Jonathan Edwards when he was a late teenager. Edwards, the 18th-century New England Puritan preacher, is most famous for his involvement in the First Great Awakening and for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” But before he became the famous preacher and theologian, he wrote a list of 70 life resolutions. These resolutions cover broad areas of life from time management to relationships; from spiritual growth to eating; from how he faced suffering to his devotional habits. We can all learn from this list, especially as we start a new year and consider making our own resolutions.
Here is just a sampling of his 70 life resolutions:
“#7: Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.
#25: Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.
#58: Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity”. 
May we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18). May our relationships deepen in this New Year and may we all grow together in love, first of all for the Lord, but also for one another.
“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”, as the Apostle Paul tells us. (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Let us stay or become active in our local church community and Bible Study clubs. A positive and meaningful resolution would be to set aside time to study the Word of God.
Let us together continue to build Christ’s church on the only foundation that He Himself has laid, and that is His infallible Word. And give Him the glory.