This is the time of year when many people think about making a resolution to do or not do something in the coming year. Jokes about the resolutions abound on social media, and friends ask each other if they’re making one, and if so what it is. What are you planning to achieve in 2020? An idea for resolution making I suggest is evaluating yourself in the light of what the Bible expects of you. Are you doing everything according to biblical standards? It is hard to make an accurate self-evaluation, so you may want to talk about it with trusted friends or your pastor.
The Bible says that when you became a Christian (if you did), then old things passed away, and everything became new, that “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (1 Corinthians 5:15-17; Revelation 21:5).
You, I, and everyone else like the old worldly ways better than the new at first because it’s convenient and familiar. There’s a sense of security in doing things in the way we’ve always done them. The Bible, though, tells us that we can’t go on living a worldly life and also be Christian. Jesus used the parable of mending old clothes with new cloth. The first time the item is washed, the new cloth shrinks and pulls apart the old cloth which makes the damaged area worse (Matthew 9:16,17; Mark 2:21,22; Luke 5:31,32). And, since you know these things, you should communicate them to others (Matthew 13:52).
Physical worldly circumstances get in the way of our doing what we should do sometimes. And, it’s easy to let these circumstances get in the way of doing what we know we should. But circumstances avail us nothing and are not important. It’s being the” new creature” God made of us that’s important (Ephesians 4:24). This is not new with the New Testament, but it’s the same command God has given mankind since Adam and Eve, but it’s given under a new contract with us (1 John 2: 7,8; 2 John 1:15).
The old law did nothing for salvation, but pointed up our failings and the impossibility of saving ourselves through our own actions. Therefore, God made a new contract with us in Christ Jesus so we can be saved. You should not allow worldly circumstances to dictate how you live. (Galatians 6:15). You, I, and all Christians are new creatures in God’s eyes. He has abolished the curse of the old worldly self. We are still imperfect humans and we make mistakes and commit sins. Our accepting Christ as our Savior removes the enmity between God and us for our sinning, and makes us one new person in Christ and makes peace between us and God (Ephesians 2:15), because Jesus paid the penalty for your sins when He died on the cross in your place.
New creatures have a new nature, and all creatures act according to their true nature. Apple trees grow apples because it’s their nature to grow apples. You’ll never see an apple tree growing bananas. Likewise, true Christians act not according to the dictates of situations in the world, but according to the fruit of the new nature that God gave them. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. So if we live in the Spirit, we should also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:18-26). Jesus gave us a new commandment to love one another (John 13:34; 1John 2:7,8; 2John 1:15), and the Great Commission to go forth into all the world teaching everyone what God has taught us through the Bible, and particularly through His teachings (Matthew 28: 19,20).
So, the question for making 2020 resolutions is whether or not you’re living according to the fruit of the Spirit, or if you’re allowing worldly circumstances to dictate your actions. Situations do come up in our lives and we need to deal with them. It’s not if we deal with them, but how we act that matters. And allow no stress and strife about imagining what may happen tomorrow to get you wound up tighter than a two-dollar watch, because tomorrow will take care of itself with God’s guidance and help.
If you’re not following the Spirit now, then the ideal 2020 resolution is to start doing so. How to do that is the subject of part two next week. Between now and then start reading your Bible more. Or, if you aren’t a Christian, start reading it and thinking about why you should become a Christian. Those are the most important resolutions you could make. And in all honesty, I’m making a resolution to more closely follow Christ and to read my Bible more. I can do a lot better than I’m doing now. I need to spend a lot more time working on this blog and making it better. That’s another resolution I’m making. Another is to start a YouTube channel to complement this blog. More on that later. What resolutions are you going to follow in 2020?