I think New Year’s resolutions are a good thing (as well as resolutions in general–see 2 Thessalonians 1:11; though keep in mind why most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions). But there is something better than resolutions and prior to resolutions.
David Mathis captures this in a post at the DG blog from last year, where he recommends starting the year with reading Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Spiritual Depression and then something better than resolutions.
Regarding Lloyd-Jones book, Mathis notes: “the title can be a tad deceiving. It’s not merely a book for those with a pronounced sense of spiritual depression. It’s a book for all Christians — for the daily spiritual depressions we all face this side of heaven.”
So the book is worth your read whether you are facing a pronounced sense of spiritual depression or simply the more general spiritual depressions faced by all.
Now, what is better than resolutions and the ultimate basis for any resolutions you do make? Mathis quotes Lloyd-Jones:
Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ’. That is your first step. Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you. What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No! You just begin to say:
I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone. (35)
This sounds like Paul: “Forgetting what lies behind [that’s Lloyd-Jones’ point] and straining forward to what lies ahead [there’s the place for resolutions], I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus ” (Philippians 3:13-14).
So, forget what lies behind, and then press on toward the goal. And any resolutions you make, make in the recognition that you are accepted and forgiven by God in Christ apart from any resolutions, and then seek to fulfill them in the power that God supplies (Colossians 1:29).