A resolution that works

By Barrett Duke
Jan 10, 2013

New Year’s resolutions! Most of them are about as useful as an empty water bottle in the desert. They give us hope that things will be better, but in the end usually lead to disappointment as we fall back into our old habits.

It doesn’t have to be that way. At any time, your life can change for the better. The New Year is as good a place as any to start. So what would it take to make a permanent change for the better this year?

Listen to the audio of this commentary here.

The crucial part for change is with our thought processes. The Apostle Paul knew a lot about making major changes in life. He said: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

If we can change how we think about something, we can change what we do. Take smoking for example. I smoked cigarettes when I was a young man. I continued to smoke them after I became a Christian. I knew they were bad for me and for my Christian witness, but just knowing I should quit wasn’t enough for me to actually be able to quit.

I knew I needed God’s help for this. So I asked God to remove my desire for cigarettes. Well when we ask God to help us do His will, He obliges. And He did. I came to think of cigarettes as nasty, deadly things. Soon even the smell of cigarette smoke bothered me. Once my thinking about cigarettes changed, it was easier to give them up.

Every now and then I smell cigarette smoke and remember the pleasure I got from smoking, but then my mind kicks in and reminds me how glad I was to give them up, and I move on.

Now, I know some things are easier to give up than others. Some of you are dealing with addictions, maybe to drugs, pornography, gambling, eating, or something else. Maybe you feel it’s impossible to stop. You may need someone to help you. Few of us can walk the dark paths of addiction alone. But no one can help you if you don’t truly want help. If you are really ready to give it up, you can with God’s help.

Whether you are dealing with addiction or a bad habit, if you are ready to change, say this prayer right now, “God, I know what I am doing is wrong and sinful. I want to stop it. I surrender it to you now. Please take the desire out of me for this.” Then find someone who can help you be accountable for your commitment. Your spouse, pastor, or a good friend is a great starting point. Chances are they already know you are struggling. They are just waiting for you to admit it.

This can be a better year for you. It’s alright to make a resolution, but just declaring it so will not make it so. Are you really ready to change? If so, you can. May God make this year the year of your release, and may you bring Him great glory in that victory.

Listen to the audio of this commentary here.

Dr. Barrett Duke is Vice President for Public Policy and Research for the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and also serves as Director of the Commission’s Research Institute of the ERLC. Read more of his work here. He is also a regular contributor to the For Faith and Family radio broadcast.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Addictions, Living,

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