DEAR REV. GRAHAM: What good does it do to make a list of New Year's resolutions? I've done it most years, but I don't think I'm even going to bother this year because I never keep them, and I just end up frustrated. —F.M.
Dear F.M.: I suspect many people feel the same way you do because it's far easier to make a list of things about us that we'd like to see changed than it is to actually change them.
Why is this? One reason, I suspect, is because most things on our list of New Year's resolutions are little more than wishes — that is, things about ourselves that we wish were different. But we never take the second step, which is to decide exactly what we'll need to do to reach those goals. You might resolve to lose weight, for example — but if you don't develop a plan to change your eating and do more exercise, you probably won't succeed.
But we also fail because we don't seek God's direction and help. The most important question you can ask as a new year begins is this: What does God want to do in my life during the coming year ? Instead of making a random list of resolutions, ask God what changes He wants to make in your life.
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What does God want to do in your life? First, He wants you to come to know Him by giving yourself to Jesus Christ. If you've never done so, ask Him to come into your life today. Then God wants you to grow closer to Him, turning from sin — with His help — and living for Christ every day. Let the Psalmist's prayer become yours: "Search me, O God, and know my heart. ... See if there is any offensive way in me" (Psalm 139:23,24).