Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Years Resolutions

Normally New Year's Resolutions are written down. Why waste the time? Few follow through!

It seems as if that's ironic: Resolved to "follow through" and then failure!

A resolution is a "firm determination". To do what? Follow through with whatever plan of action a person proposes. From a psychological standpoint one may do better if they say "I'm determined to..." instead of "My Resolution is...". It means the same thing, but "determined" seems to be more concrete in one's minds.

Typical New Years Resolutions:

1) I'm going to quit _____________ (smoking, cursing, laying around, etc.)
2) I'm going to __________ (diet, lose weight, eat more healthy, etc.)
3) I'm going _________  (to attend church more regularly, be more serious about God, read my Bible daily, pray twice a day, etc.)

You get the picture! Just fill in your own blank. Most of us have resolved to so many things!  How successful are we? Not very!

It has been reported that only 8% of people follow through with New Year's Resolutions! Are you one of the 8 out of 100? I followed through one time in about ten times I've made a resolution at New Year's. However, resolutions can be made any time of year and I've been more successful with those. I suppose it has to do with situations which arise which make a person more serious. I quit smoking in February of 1984. I didn't say "I'm resolved to quit." I said "I quit." period! Do you see the difference? The former leaves an opening for failure and the latter is a determined statement.

In 2012 around September I saw my "Buddha gut" reflection in the full-length window while I was working shirtless outside. I was determined to do something about that and I did. I lost my Buddha gut in about three months and went on to lose 41 pounds, well beyound my first goal of 23 pounds! How was I able to do this? Determination!  "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Newton was smart. He put God's Law into his own words and got famous with Newtons' First Law of Physics. However, this can be applied to about anything!

My "action" was seeing myself through an unflattering prism. My "reaction" was disgust. In order to be determined I must want to change. "Disgust" is unpleasant and that was my motivator. 

So  then I was disgusted with what I saw and was determined to make a change! There are two ways of accomplishing change: 1) Irrationally seek a miracle drug/cure/program/food/etc. or 2) Get real! "Getting real" means that someone must do something drastic. Since no one else could lose weight for me, I had to do it myself! Work is required for change.

"Yourself doing" is "self-control". We have now moved from a resolution to a firm action. Determination brought us to that point. Most people aren't determined enough to have self-control. They had rather play games with the imaginary activity of "trying". It's imaginary because "trying " is non-existent. A person doesn't "try to eat right". Either a person does or does not.  "Trying" is defined as "failure". "Doing" is success!

I "tried" to quit smoking for 20 years. In my mind I said "After I quit I can on occasion smoke a cigarette." What was lacking? Determination! I allowed a loop-hole. Sometime later I was going to smoke another cigarette. In actuality I never quit. I only played games with quitting. Playing games with serious behaviors is self-destructive and masochistic. Why subject one to the punishment of quitting unless one is truly serious about quitting? That's insane!

I quit smoking when I quit "trying". I made a "resolution" that "never again will I smoke"! I was determined and committed. I then quit smoking in an instant. I skipped the defeat of "trying" and went right on to "doing". Quitting something requires little "doing" actually! It requires "not doing". I quit smoking by not buying, unpacking, getting, placing, lighting and inhaling cigarettes. You see, quitting bad behaviors is actually "not doing"!

People who can't quit doing things have little determination and self-control. When we resolve to quit bad behaviors or actions and we fail, we fail ourselves and maybe our family, However, those who have little self-control in temporal matters may have the same lack of self-control in spiritual matters!

We get "saved" by sorrow, repentance, belief and faith. All these must be enduring. We can't be sorrowful, believe, and faithful for ten minutes and be "saved". We must initially feel sorrow and never forget that we're saved because we're sinners and rebelled against God. Belief and faith is likened to a race by Paul:

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

Running to obtain is determination. Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile. Those who looked back lost the race. Determination is looking ahead. Looking to finish the race.  Looking back causes uncertainity and doubt. Just as the Olympians of Paul's time, we look forward! Who comes to mind when one thinks of "looking back"? Lot's wife. She made one last look at what she was leaving. The "race" for her ended right there. She just didn't have the commitment to move forward and put that sinful city behind her!

Galatians 5:22  (ESV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

Look at that! Again we're flabberghasted because "self-control" is working by ourselves, but it's a "fruit of the spirit". We become able to control ourselves because the Holy Spirit is there to check us! He's the comforter. Jesus didn't expect us to be like him on our own:

John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Isn't that just like God? He wants us to practice "self-control" then he helps us to do that!  Our salvation is maintaining our faith to the end and the Holy Spirit is right there to keep us believing!  That's for the spiritual things of life, but God will help us in all things:

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

"All things" includes our New Year's Resolutions; what we're committed to do at any time of the year. How are we able to keep our resolutions?

1) Desire to change. (Listen to what God wants).
2) Determination to change.(Self-satisfaction and to please God)
3) Plan of how to make the change, (Ask God's guidance)
4) Self-control. (Listen to the Spirit).
5) Look at the change as accomplished, not in process.
6) Prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
7) Look to the finish line (The change accomplished. Don't consider failure).
8) Motivation to "finish the race" (Tryers are quiters and quitters lose).
9) Watch yourself finish the race.
10) Accept that the race as over. Don't run it again!  Success.

This formula works for "all things". Bad habits and over-eating are included. Exercising and toning the temple of God is in his will. Cursing can be defeated. Lying can be extinquished! Just be determined. Resolve yourself right now to change something or many things!

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