Friday, November 09, 2007

To Resolve or Not to Resolve

“Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart.” ~ Gimli
“Or break it.” ~ Elrond

I'm not saying resolutions are wrong. They scare me, though. If I commit to something, I want to mean it. If I promise even to pray for you, I intend to do it - for a very long time. A thing that is on my heart deeply I will resolve to do, almost because I know I won't be able to help myself. Isn't that the easy way out?

Dennis Prager says the way he fights his own laziness is by making outside commitments. Accountability is huge. For example, when I commit to lead a Bible study, I do study the Bible, and get a lot out of it. Just for myself I would never have studied those words, asked those questions, or looked at those cross references.

We like to think of resolutions as the lighthearted decision to diet after the New Year. I know from experience that deciding to write or read a book by a certain time doesn't even work. I get distracted. Doesn't God by His grace give us the will to do...

Where was I going with that? At first I was going somewhere that would make the answer, "no." God doesn't enable us to do whatever we decide to do, however much diligence and perseverance are good things. God gives us the strength and grace to do what He wills.

Maybe I should not shirk resolutions if I know they are the will of God: if they're in the Bible, at least. So to resolve to pray would be good. Making a resolution to be more kind might have a chance.

I get so tired of failing. The fear is that once a resolution is broken, the call to start over is too intimidating.

In the background I'm hearing the chant, "Grace, grace, grace." Resolutions humble me. They always point out that I can't. Failing needs repentance.

To not make a resolution on something I know God expects of me, isn't that just covering for myself? Then when I fail I could conceivably argue that I hadn't reached that level of maturity; I wasn't aware of that expectation. Excuses, especially false ones, don't get very far with God. The repentance should come when I fail to please Him, not just when I break a resolution.

And now we're happily back to no need for resolutions, because the expectations and consequences are the same. Jesus said "Let your yes be yes, and your no, no," for a reason.

Or was Gimli right all along? Does a vow strengthen a faltering heart? Is a broken heart worth the risk? Brokenness isn't entirely bad; it reflects reality better than our pretense of competence.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

kschaub said...

Hey Lisa, you said you wanted to read about how we are disciplined by grace. I just finished that post, and it's @ kschaub.blogspot.com

About a year and a half ago, I wrote out resolutions after reading the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards. It is difficult keeping them all the time, but I read them weekly to keep them in mind. They are actually posted on the sidebar of my blog too.