TERRE HAUTE —
It should come as no surprise to my regular readers that I don’t “do” new year’s resolutions. Nope. Don’t believe in them. In fact, the entire time I’ve written this little column — going on 14 years, now — I have not once dedicated a column to any new year’s resolutions. I’ve confessed that I know any resolution or promise I make will be one I will break before the new year is even a week old. I’m just that kind of gal.
Truth be told, you probably don’t do what you resolve to do, either. Kinda’ makes us feel pretty crummy, doesn’t it? Probably about as crummy as Peter felt that day in the Garden of Gethsemane when he fell asleep while Jesus was praying. What was it Jesus told him? “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” —Matthew 26:41
Therein lies the problem. We know we are weak. Each of us is willing, in our minds at least, to become a new person and to change what needs changing. But when it comes to doing that which we should do, as opposed to that which we really do, we are weak as newborn kittens.
The reason it’s so hard to make resolutions? It means we need to make changes. The reason it’s so hard to make changes? The flesh is weak. The reason the flesh is weak? We listen to the call of Satan instead of the call of the Savior.
Last Sunday, the teenagers in my Sunday school class helped me come up with a way to keep our resolutions. Simply put, we need to change the way we are thinking. Philippians 4:8 outlines the plan for us: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
What those teenagers taught me that day was simple: We become what we think. If we think bad things, we say bad things, becoming gossips and nags and obnoxious in our speech. If we think about the bad things other people say and do, we miss seeing the good things those people say and do.
That’s when it became clear. I am going to make a new year’s resolution this year. I’m also going to encourage you to make one, too. I’m going to change my way of thinking. I’m going to think about good things, not bad. I’m going to look for and think about the truth, the noble, the pure and the right. I’m going to gaze on the lovely, the admirable. I’m going to see the excellent in others and the praiseworthy moments of their lives.
Those teenagers — Skylar, Samantha, Jade, Jameson, Joseph and Elizabeth — vowed to change their ways of thinking, too. With God’s help, this is one resolution I think we can keep.
Will you try it with us?
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.