Why make New Year’s resolutions?

Published 5:51 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2012

By Jake McCall

By now many of us are going on Day 11 or 12 of our New Year’s resolutions and, don’t worry, I’m not going to ask how they’re going. But, have you ever thought about why we make these promises to ourselves and establish new goals for each new year?

Why do I tell myself I need to exercise, why do I promise that I will take better care of my family, why do I set goals to spend more time reading the Bible and praying more? And also, from a more impersonal angle, why did Michael Jordan, who while he was still playing was already considered the greatest basketball player to ever play the game, keep trying to get better? Why did Einstein continue studying, inventing, working to get smarter? Did you know Beethoven consistently remained displeased with his music? The answers to all of these questions have a common root, and it is that we all know that everything is supposed to be better. I have never met anyone that wants to do something worse this year because they did it so well last year. People may, through prideful attitudes, act like they do no wrong, but everyone, even the most arrogant, knows that it and they should be better. We should be healthier. We should be smarter. We should be kinder. We should be more disciplined. Our country should be working better. Our world should be a better place.

This isn’t to attack your self-esteem or self-worth or try to promote discontentment, but simply to say that we as an imperfect, completely flawed people have perfection as our standard. Where do we get that standard? Why do we feel that way? We feel that way because there is a part of us that has a glimpse into the Garden of Eden, where mankind, along with everything else, was originally created perfectly good. We, as a human race, weren’t originally created to die, get sick, or ever helplessly watch any of that take place. Adam wasn’t originally created to watch Eve die. Eve wasn’t originally created to watch Adam die. In Philippians 3:11, Paul expresses his lifetime goal by saying, “that by any means possible may I attain the resurrection of the dead.” So why does Paul long for the resurrection of the dead? Because he is just like us and he knows everything is supposed to be better. He is longing to go back to how mankind was originally created. In other words, because of what Christ has accomplished and attained on behalf of Paul, he longs for what Christ’s work will one day bring to him.

God has placed in us a knowledge of that which is perfect. In all of us there is a knowledge of God and a knowledge of the perfection that He is. C.S. Lewis understood this and put his longings in this way, “I find in myself desires which nothing in this earth can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Paul also tells us that during his life on earth that he presses on toward this goal of the upward call of God. This doesn’t mean he is out looking for death; it means Paul knows that a life with Christ is a way in which the Perfect comes down to the imperfect.

King David says in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” A life with Christ allows us to taste the goodness and perfection of God in the midst of all the imperfection in which we live. When Christ becomes our Savior and our faith is put in Him; when we look to Him who is able to give us wisdom; when we are in the Scriptures, in prayer, in worship, we, the imperfect, get to experience the perfect. We are getting a taste of what is to come.

We pray in our “Lord’s Prayer” for the Kingdom to come to earth as it is in heaven. At that point we are humbly expressing our hope and need for the Perfect to invade our imperfect lives.