Christians and new year’s resolutions
January 1, 2018, for many, will be a time when goals are set and a new list of resolutions drawn up. For some, the pledges will be to lose weight, for others, it will be to live life on a shoestring budget so that they can finally achieve some long-sought-after dream. Whatever it is, the lists will be coming out.
In the secular world, the tradition of making New Year's resolutions goes back to the ancient times of the Babylonians and is all in good fun. But for Christendom, some pastors frown on the practice.
Family and Religion reached out to national youth director of the Church of God in Jamaica Darren McKoy to weigh in on the issue. He said that he does not believe Christians should get caught up in the 'hype' of New Year's resolutions.
"It is better for Christians to reflect on their personal lives over the past year and think about what they did or did not do and if they were pleased with how they lived. Depending on what they come up with, they can choose to make adjustments if they feel it is in their best interest," he said.
CONSULT WITH GOD
He stressed, however, that their decision must be influenced by consultation with God.
"And that is where I think it differs for Christians. There are many times when persons make resolutions, where it does not have anything to do with or is influenced by God," he pointed out.
McKoy said that if Christians attempt to make a resolution, then it should primarily surround transformation - both for their lives and those of others.
"Christian resolutions must never be about casual things like how much money they can make by the time the year ends, or how much weight they can lose. Though all these things are important at times, it should never be the main focus," he said.
McKoy said that he is not against those who want to use resolutions as a way to set goals, but they should ultimately remember that their real source of making it all come together is God.
Quoting the words from Proverbs 3 vs 5, he reminded Christians to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding".
"Leaning not on their own understanding is solidifying the fact that their resolution cannot be casual. In their reflection is where God would speak to them, and they would be guided in the changes they need to make. Their decision cannot be about their personal wants, but more so, the desire of God."
McKoy pointed out that our concept of resolutions typically does not honour God as most of the times, it is all about how we can improve us, with little thought of God.
"However, whatever we do must be fuelled by God. It is not that we have more God than anybody else, but as Christians, our entire life must be driven by the mind and intentions of God."
SEEK GOD'S APPROVAL
If Christians want to indulge in resolutions then, according to McKoy, they should ensure that the resolutions are ones God would approve of.
"As Christians, we can even look to the Bible for acceptable resolutions. For example, love your neighbour as you love yourself. Here is the greatest commandment that God has given to us, yet there is not much of that taking place. So instead of trying to come up with one that is acceptable, we must try to pull from 'the source'," he said.
With the root cause of Jamaica's crime problem being lack of real love, McKoy said that that would be a great one as loving some people is a resolution we need to totally depend on God for, especially if you have neighbours who you can't see yourself loving.
In concluding, he warned Christians not to buy into society's view of New Year's resolutions, as sometimes, they are influenced by self and even greed at times.
"Our resolutions must be decisions that will not only impact and transform our lives, but transform the lives of all those we come in contact with."