Have you ever made New Year’s Resolutions you didn’t keep? Ever know anyone who fulfilled their resolutions? Are resolutions worth making?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #61 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
From time to time, I’ve made New Year’s resolutions, as much for the fun of it as any real commitment or need to make them. A few I fulfilled, maybe most, but the idea of New Year’s resolutions didn’t tend to move me because I was one who set goals periodically throughout the year.
As far as I can tell there’s nothing wrong with making New Year’s Resolutions. Key is whether you really have the desire and thus the follow through to see them across the finish line.
A lot of people make resolutions about dieting, by which they mean losing weight. Just watch the commercials aired in January and you’ll know what I mean. Lots of weight-loss programs.
Funny thing is, the word “diet” means food and drink consumed or a regime of eating and drinking, habitual nourishment. In other words, whether you “go on a diet” or not, everyone is actually “dieting” because it primarily signals that you eat—and everyone eats. The word “diet” is not about losing weight, though in popular parlance “diet” has become synonymous with weight loss.
Many people make resolutions that deal with their health or their desire to improve their health. This is a good thing.
Does it surprise you to know that most common illnesses and ailments that human beings endure trace back to our lifestyle choices. While we certainly experience disease that comes upon us as a result of living in a fallen world, in other words, to no fault of our own. Still, much of what we experience is in some since self-inflicted.
Think about these health challenges, for example:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD
- Type II diabetes
Genetics may be involved in some of these, but health experts tell us the root cause of these problems are unhealthy habits we develop in our largely sedentary routines. Meanwhile, we’re told that 80% of cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and strokes are preventable.
Culturally speaking, we don’t exercise, even as much as 150 minutes per week. We eat nutritionally imbalanced meals, i.e., fast food and processed foods loaded with calories, sodium, fat, and “additives,” a scary word for sure.
The first question nurses ask me when I visit a medical facility is “Do you smoke?” Thankfully, I can say, No. Next question is, “Do you drink alcoholic beverages excessively?” Thankfully, I can say, No. The reason these questions are asked is that a Yes response introduces a long list of health-related problems directly linked to the practice of tobacco use and alcohol consumption. If you choose to smoke or drink, then you opt for self-inflicted health problems.
Of course, drug abuse, including marijuana, opioids, and prescription medications all can and generally do introduce negative health side-effects.
So, if you want to make a few New Year’s Resolutions, I suggest adding these goals to your list:
- Healthy diet
- Proper sleep
- Stress relief
- An active social life
You should also add, if this is not a pattern in your life, regular church attendance. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that active participation in the spiritual and social life of a local church fellowship can help reduce stress, lower the risk of depression and suicide, result in better sleep and lower blood pressure, and provide for a more stable, happy, and even sexually satisfying marriages.
Church attendance, or rather actual spiritual engagement with the teachings of the Word of God, can result in longer life expectancy.
Learning and applying the principles God provided us in his Word is not only an act of spiritual obedience but of rational self-interest and preservation. Why do I say this? Because God created reality and told us how the natural world works. He gave us everything we need for life and godliness, meaning he told us who he is, who we are, who you are—your own sense of self, who we are as sinners, loved eternally by Creator God and in need of grace. He told us how to live in a manner that yields not only good morals and good manners but a means of flourishing.
I don’t suppose I have to remind us or need to list the social upheaval in which we now live, the chaos that surrounds us as more and more people give themselves over to false ideology. This means the culture and the individuals that create it are growing weaker and as this happens, government plays a greater and greater role in directing and controlling our lives. Meanwhile, the Church plays a lesser role.
Scripture said, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:21-22). I call this a celebration of irrationality.
Our culture has long-since begun to “suppress the truth by their wickedness," (Rom. 1:18) so it is now becoming irrational, unrealistic, and dysfunctional. Unfortunately, it can get worse. There's more sophisticated insanity yet to come.
So, in this kind of zeitgeist, our task is to remain faithful, to live not the lies, to not be weary in well-doing.
As the Apostle Paul reminded us, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Rom. 8:37-39).
So, if you make New Year’s Resolutions, think about some that reinforce a lifestyle that improves your health and glorifies God, and then make a few that recognize your confidence in the Hope we have in Christ.
Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022
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