How are you New Year's resolutions going so far? Are you still sticking with it, or have you found yourself already giving up? For many, the new year is a great time to make goals and plans and to set up New Year's resolutions, where we (supposedly) set out resolutely to accomplish something or to change some habit, or usually for American's - lose weight.
But as Christians, could these types of New Year's resolutions be from the evil one? Jesus says in Matthew 5:37 (in a passage talking about making oaths) that we should let our yes be yes, and our no, no and anything more than that is from the evil one (or as some editions have it; from evil).
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for making goals and having plans to better ourselves and be intentional about our lives (for I believe this is in line with what the bibles teaches - to consider - Heb 10:24; Rev 2:5; Luke 14:28-33; etc.) and anyone who knows me knows that I am as driven as the next guy (sloth is not typically one of my vices, though I have plenty)! As a personal trainer in the past I could appreciate so many people's New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get in better shape ... it's what kept us all employed!
If we are like most people (and if we are honest with ourselves), we have typically given up on our New Year's resolutions by February, if not sooner! And often there is something inside of us as Christians that feels a little weird about that. I think it's because we know that our Lord told us that simply saying yes, or no, should be worthy enough without having to bolster it with some other verbiage like, "I swear on my mama's grave!" or, "but I made a New Year's resolution!"
Obviously Jesus and God know that we are finite and fallible beings and do not have the power to completely follow through with what we desire or intend, yet for those of us that make New Year's resolutions over and over again only to see ourselves not follow through time and again, shouldn't we pause and consider for a moment if we are truly following Jesus' teachings in this way?
So the next time we set out to make New Year's resolutions (or any kind of goal for that matter), let's be sure to pause and make sure we are counting the cost of what we are saying we are going to do, so that we aren't making flippant "oaths", even if it is something the world is doing constantly.