So, what is/are your resolution(s) for the New Year? According to the experts, most resolutions are broken within the first week of the New Year, yet despite the futility, some of us start the year committing to changes we hope to carry out during the year. Perhaps most of the desired changes are behavioral; things that we have struggled with from time to time. In some cases, perhaps for a very long time. It could be that we have made the same resolutions before and failed despite our best efforts, so we start this year with a new resolve.
These thoughts came to mind as I reflected on the words from Proverbs 4:20-23, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (KJV). These words seem so appropriate for the start of 2017. As Solomon instructed his own son, so I believe God instructs us. What better resolution to make than to incline our ears to the sayings or the words of our God? Words that are “life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” Seeing all of our actions, thoughts, and the issues of life spring from our heart, we are also admonished to keep/guard our heart “with all diligence.” Bible Scholar John Gill observes, “It is to be kept by all manner of means that can be thought of, by prayer, hearing, reading, meditation; and, above all, by applying to Christ for his grace and Spirit to sanctify, preserve, and keep it.” Two great resolutions: 1) Incline your ear to God’s sayings, and 2) Guard your heart with all diligence! If we can do both things, most of the time if not all of the time, we will be in good shape towards becoming the kind of persons we were intended to be.
In my own experience, committing to resolutions on January 1st is not enough. Given all the various challenges we experience in our individual lives, I find it absolutely necessary to remind myself of the Lord’s sayings daily while guarding my heart. In a somewhat cold and unforgiving world, the word of God provides me with an inner peace that stands guard over my heart and mind (see Philippians 4:6-9). They help me not to be too anxious about anything, often a challenge within itself, but to think of God’s sovereignty over all things while reminding myself that regardless of my outside circumstances, as long as I remain under His care, I am in good hands.
Most of us who have tried to walk in our own way from time to time can profess to the fact that at the end of the day we are sometimes rudely reminded that there really is no other way but His way. That His way is best and if we hope to rest in the comfort of His care, we have to surrender our own desires, plans, and methods to the Lordship of Christ and allow Him to have His own way. So, my New Year starts the same way the old ended; with the resolve to incline my ears unto even more of His sayings while guarding my heart with all diligence. What’s yours?
To you and yours, God’s favour and abundance of blessings for 2017 in all areas of your lives.