Resolution. Popular word at this time of year. People are resolving all kinds of things. To eat healthier, lose weight, and exercise more. To spend more time with family, less time on social media, and more time outside. To talk to faraway friends, visit faraway lands, and meet faraway goals. To get closer to God, be more intentional in parenting, and more involved at church.
I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’m all for setting goals but let’s be honest, whenever anyone declares a New Year’s resolution, don’t we almost tongue-in-cheek assume that within a short amount of time, they are going to “break it?” We joke about how soon the diet will be left behind, the exercise reduced to minimal effort, and the time with family stolen by “other things.” There’s almost an assumption that these resolutions can and will be broken at some point and it’s expected that failure is the norm.. and it’s okay.
So, yeah, not a huge fan of teaching that ideal to our kids and supporting that in each other.
But resolution has many more flavors than just resolving to do something.
For instance, one definition of resolution is “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict or problem” We have some problems in the American church. We are losing generations. We are divided by race and denomination. We are divided within our churches by age and worship preferences.
What if this year our resolution looked a little different? What if it was breaking down of some walls and reaching across boundaries to create solutions and finding answers? How can we “seek peace and pursue it” within our own walls with our family, our church body, and our community?
But resolution has more flavors that that. Another definition (and honestly my favorite one) is “the ability to show an image clearly and with a lot of detail.” As life takes it down its curvy road, it can be easy for us to lose clarity. Things cloud our vision. Hurts, worries, distractions, confusion – all of these things can blur our view and distort truth. We need clarity. We need resolution.
Perhaps as you look at your life you can see places where you just don’t know which direction to go, which path to walk, which road to travel. You know that changes need to happen but you are so far from making a real New Year’s resolution because before you can resolve you need resolution in the form of clarity, vision, and purpose.
One of my favorite Scriptures is found in James where he writes, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Then later on James tells us about that wisdom is “first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Resolution – clarity, wisdom, the end of conflict, the sowing of peace, the harvest of righteousness. And the final definition, resolution; the answer or solution to something.
If you are a minister helping to transition your church to a family-focused ministry, you will need resolution to meet the various needs you will find as you move forward. Establishing a ministry that equips and resources parents for discipleship in the home will require answers and solutions and therefore resolution. If you are a parent looking to be more intentional at faith formation within your home, you will find that often you will need resolution to questions asked by your children and dumped in your lap by life.
But this kind of resolution, the kind that answers questions and solves problems, the kind that provides clarity and is dependent on wisdom from above, the kind that ends conflict and pursues peace, is not easily broken. This kind of resolution has long-lasting, far-reaching effects that changes landscapes, environments and communities for generations. It changes hearts and homes for eternity.
So if New Year’s resolutions are something that you do, why not choose one of the kinds that can’t be broken by January 31. As for me and my house, we resolve to serve the Lord… in His wisdom, with clarity and peace by His grace. Happy New Year!