Bible offers good resolutions for any New Year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Surveys show half of all adults do.

As to whether they stick to them, the same survey found 75 percent do for more than one week; 71 percent for two weeks, and 64 percent do for more than a month. Then, it drops to 46 percent who actually keep their New Year’s Resolutions for six months.

Are yours among the top 10 most common? To lose weight, stop smoking, stick to a budget, save more money, find a better job, become more organized, exercise more, be more patient at work and with others, eat better, and become a better person.

Ever wonder how the tradition started? Some historians believe it began as far back as the Babylon-ians, whose empire thrived before the birth of Christ. Also, it is said that early Christians after Christ’s ascension believed the first day of the New Year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the New Year.

Someone once said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” Another anonymous person penned this thought, “Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.”

American naturalist and writer John Burroughs remarked, “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.”

Jonathan Edwards, the well-known 18th century minister, sat down at the age of 17 and wrote 21 resolutions in 1722.  Later, he expanded the list to 70 resolutions that he determined to live by.

Edwards wrote, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.” Then he made a life-long pledge to himself, “Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.”

Among the first 21 on his list are resolutions we would do well to keep. “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but to improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.  Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.  Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.  Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.”

You’ll find many scriptures in the Bible that would make good resolutions.  For example, I want to live by Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin throughout this year, “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.” Henry Moore, a famous sculptor, may have come up with the best way to keep New Year’s Resolutions when he said, “I think in terms of the day’s resolutions, not the year’s.” So take life one day at a time.


Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist.  Her email address is