Jesus said, “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ But I say to you, take no oath at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you take an oath by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” Matthew 5:33-37
Most Americans have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions. We love to make them but hate to keep them!
I read a recent article that said that while 60 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only eight percent keep them. Top requests include less eating and drinking, more family time and exercise, be a more lovable person, and upgrading technology.
All great resolutions. I hope that you make and keep them. Your life will improve; you will be happier; others will be happier too – especially when you become a more lovable person.
For successful resolutions, I list five rules that will enable you pray like the Apostle Paul, serve as Mother Teresa, and share the gospel like Billy Graham – or perhaps just get up in the morning to pray!
- Be specific and attainable. If you want to lose weight, set a goal of 10 pounds. You will know if you make the goal. Don’t say, “I’m losing 50 pounds.” Say, “I’m losing 10 pounds!” Specific and attainable. You will feel better sooner with a 10-pound goal and your chances at 10 pounds are greater than 50 pounds. When you reach 10 pounds, go for 20 pounds, then 30 pounds, then 40 pounds, and finally, 50 pounds. Wow, great job! You look great!
- Write the resolution on a piece of paper and place it in your Bible (even if you use an e-Bible, find a real one). Something sacred and more committed about Bible paper! This might sound weird, but I think God honors literal/actual/scripture/Word/Logos in more ways than you can imagine.
- Enlist accountability. A friend of mine did original research on changing habits and he told me that it takes three months for a new habit to stick. Eighty percent of the effort required for the new habit is expended in the first three months. After three months, you keep the habit because it requires only 20 percent of the effort. What should you do? Tell someone, ask them to pray for you, then ask them to keep you accountable.
- Make habits work for you and not against you. Your flesh is designed by God to get stuck. Satan knows this. When you form a new habit, it gets easier to do on a regular basis. Likewise, a bad habit is hard to break. Satan’s habits are pleasure for a moment then difficulty for a lifetime. The Spirit’s habits begin with repentance, then a filling of God’s Spirit, ending in praise. Make good habits by confession, asking for power, and being thankful.
- Pray in the Spirit. I will be teaching you how to do this in 2021. Read all the upcoming 312 “2021 Interruptions“! Praying in the Spirit is essential for overcoming weakness… now in the same way the Spirit helps our weakness (Romans 8:26).
My #3 New Year’s Resolution for 2021: Become a more lovable person. I am joking – how can I be more lovable!!?? How about this: I will pray powerfully in the Spirit each day for strongholds in my life to be broken and the power of God to be released.
My #2 New Year’s Resolution for 2021: To pray often, “God bring revival, power, healing, and salvation in our community, and through our community to the world in 2021.” (Explained in Interruption #237.)
My #1 New Year’s Resolution for 2021: I will recognize and confess my bitter-bits before they ignite a forest! (Explained in Interruption #233.)