I watched a short video from Paul David Tripp last week talking about the value of making New Year’s Resolutions. In it he said something which made a lot of sense. He said that our lives aren’t as much shaped by big resolutions as by the many daily decisions that we make. Many of these, he said, will seem utterly inconsequential at the time, but collectively they shape our lives far more significantly than any New Year’s resolutions.
I think he’s right. He wasn’t saying that New Year’s resolutions are wrong. Sometimes it’s right to make bold resolutions; to draw a line in the sand and say “this far and no further;” or to commit ourselves, from that point on, to a greater and higher cause. We do that when we get married, when we take on a new job. We do that when we first come to Jesus.
But those big and bold decisions are lived out through every day decisions about what we read, what we watch, how we react in the circumstances we face, what opportunities we take in which we decline. Those small decisions decide the direction of our lives. Those small decisions, built up over time, shape our relationship with God and how we live out our Christian lives.
No one always makes the best choices in those situations. But the more focused we are on Jesus and pleasing him; the more we pray and read the Bible; the more often will make choices that build our faith rather than hinder it because in each situation we will know what it the best thing to do. We are to “Walk in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light.”
How do we do that? We feed daily on God’s Word and are careful about what else we allow to shape our thoughts. (See Phil 4v8) We rejoice in God and his goodness. We pray about every situation and trust God. And when we fail, we remember that although we can’t live up to our ambitions, God is always faithful and his grace and mercy are never exhausted. And so may God change and shape us this year!