I am resolved to obey your statutes to the very end. Psalm 119:112 (CSB)
It is the time of year when people make New Year’s resolutions, or more accurately, New Year’s good intentions. We joke that we forget most declarations by the middle of January. Many New Year’s resolutions involve diet or exercise; even though we make commitments with the best intentions, the temptation is always present.
Making resolutions is easy; keeping them is hard. Sometimes, even immediate goals prove difficult. In Gethsemane, Jesus urged his disciples to keep watch, yet a short time later, he found them asleep. It wasn’t just for his sake that he wanted the disciples to remain vigilant Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 (NIV)
In Romans, Paul laments his inability, despite his resolve, to follow the law. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15 (NIV). Whether New Year’s resolutions or a desire to live godly, it is not without resistance. The triad of the world, our adversary Satan, and our own flesh conspire against us. What can we do?
It is good to have goals and objectives. There is nothing wrong with making resolutions. Reaching beyond our comfort zone is how we make progress. Yet it is discouraging to remember how futile our past efforts have been. Reminders do not help; even though we may be willing, our flesh is weak.
It is not unusual for people to attempt to separate the spiritual aspects of life from the natural. We believe God can help us be faithful in our effort to read our Bible consistently or pray. Regarding diet, exercise, or another natural objective, we may not believe that God wants to help us.
To say God is not interested in the natural aspects of our lives dishonors God. Our bodies “are fearfully and wonderfully made,” but when we neglect proper care, it impacts all aspects of our lives. To resolve to be good stewards of what God has given us is beneficial. When we are aware of something, we do not even have to wait until the beginning of the year to make a change.
By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. 2 Peter 1:3 (CEB)
Is there anything not included in the promise that he has given us everything we need for life and godliness? We may distinguish between the spiritual and the ordinary, but God’s divine power covers everything.
Jesus spoke of the wise and foolish builders. The promises of God are the foundation on which we build anything that will last. When God places something in our hearts, and we resolve to see it through, we must start with what he has given us.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul speaks as a “wise master builder,” encouraging us to be careful about building on our foundation, Jesus Christ. Whether common and ordinary, sublime and eternal, God has made provision for us if we build on what he promised.
This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. 2 Peter 1:5–7 (CEB)
There are some famous formulas, such as Einstein’s E = MC2, but Peter gives us a formula for success in life. After telling us about God’s provision and his great and precious promises to us, Peter goes on to tell us what we must do. We must add to our faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, and so on.
God’s promises of supply and provision through his divine power are reliable. When we do our part and add to our faith and continue to grow, the outcome is assured:
If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8 (CEB)
Adding to what God has given us results in our effectiveness and fruitfulness. The formula looks like this:
“Our Effective Fruitfulness” (V. 8) =
“God’s Divine Power” (V. 3-4) +
“Our Effort in Adding to Our Faith” (V. 5-7)
Everything we could ever need for life and complete devotion to God has already been deposited in us by his divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 (TPT)
It may or may not be essential to make New Year’s resolutions, but we must be resolute in our determination to grow in Christ. The most significant untapped source of power is not nuclear fission or cold fusion. Nor is it the power of the wind or the sun. No, the most extraordinary power is God’s divine power which is available to every believer.
Peter reminds us that we have received everything that pertains to life and godliness. This great reservoir of God’s power is available to us when we learn how to connect to that power according to God’s will. In the words of the hymn: “I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delights. Things that are higher, things that are nobler. These have allured my sight.”
We may not know what the future holds, but as we enter this new year, I pray that we resolve to make the most of every opportunity to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.