It's been over a week and I'm just wondering how you're doing? You know, with your New Year's resolutions. Have you kept to your exercise regime? Have you been able to drop a few pounds? Has your family noticed that you've been able to keep your anger in check? Have you been able to stay on line with your new budget? Have you?
Or have you already given up and retreated back into the same old frustrating patterns that you lived with last year?
I read that 78 per cent of people fail at fulfilling their New Year's resolutions. This tells me that making a statement on the first day of the year with the intent of modifying something in your life is probably not the most effective approach in bringing about life change.
Resolutions are often a recipe for failure because they place the focus on changing one's behaviour rather than changing one's heart. The Bible tells us to "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" (Proverbs 4: 23). It's true isn't it?
Your negative outward behaviour is often fuelled by inward unresolved issues in your heart.
Jesus said it this way, ". . . from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander" (Matthew 15: 19). The point is this. You can make as many resolutions as you want but if you don't deal with your heart, you'll never change.
But that doesn't stop us from trying. That's why we make resolutions, because we want to change something about us or around us.
People often tell me how they want to change. They want to change their attitude. They want to change their spouse or their kids or their job. They want to stop being angry or bitter. They want three easy steps that'll change their behaviour and make everything fine. But I don't have three easy steps or a motivational slogan that they can chant or a secret I can share. All I have to offer them is this question: "How's your heart?" You see, most often the very heart of our issues is simply an issue of our heart.
That's why the Bible says that the ". . . heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17: 9). If you don't think that's true push your cart to the front of the line next time you're at Costco or cut someone off on purpose on your way to work tomorrow. You'll not only see, but you'll hear, just how wicked a heart can be.
God knows that our hearts har-bor and display our true nature and motivations. He knows how capable we are at deceiving ourselves and that's why he set out to change the hearts of those who would invite him to do so.
God has been healing hearts since the beginning of time. So instead of being disappointed in your failed resolutions, why not just give God your heart this year. If you're willing to make that choice he'll change more than your behaviour-he'll change your life.
? Shawn is a pastor at Promontory Community Church. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.