The most common word in January every year is ‘resolution.’ Let me put it more correctly, it’s actually three words that go together which are ‘New Year’s Resolution.’ Every January is loaded with so many resolutions! However, when we get to December of that same year quite the opposite seems to be the case. While January is full of resolutions, December is empty of accomplishments. This made me sit and think for a minute as this year began just to explore why this is the case. There are different definitions for the word resolution, but the one that fits our subject of discussion would be “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Synonyms of such are, intention, intent, aim, and so on. It was Wilfred A. Peterson that said, and I quote, “decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made nothing happens.” In essence he is saying that you have to weigh what you want in order to weigh the resolution you are about to make. It requires you to think through it and check what your resolution is meant to bring you or to add to you, and after thoroughly searching your heart then you come to a conclusion and a decision is made. The lyrics of one of my favorite hymns “I am resolved,” by Palmer Hartsough, written in 1896, goes thus “I am resolved no longer to linger charmed by the worlds delight. Things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.” Go check it out. He mentions a lot of things that he has resolved to do which in turn will make him not to do some things as well. The message is similar to Gospel singer Donnie Mcclurkin’s song about a closer walk with the Lord, in which he sang, “I got my mind made up and I won’t turn back…” This goes to set the stage for a mind that is already made up, a mind determined not to look back, come rain or shine. That is a resolution. That is an intent of the heart. Such decisions require a considerable time of meditation, analysis, and then coming to a conclusion. Your new year’s resolution probably contains things, in part, like this:
I want to stop smoking
I want to stop drinking
I want to be closer to God, that is, I want to be more religious
I want to go to church more frequently (or mosque, whatever it is you do to try and become a better person)
I want to stop doing drugs
I want to be a more faithful husband/wife
I want to pass my exams
I want to graduate this year
But if you look back at January 2017, you will see that these same resolutions were made 12 months ago, and if that is the case why are you making the same resolution again this year? Oh, let me guess, December last year came up with a disappointing outcome almost as if you failed a test and now you are repeating the class. Let’s see if we can help one another out here. In fact, I have already given you the first key, think through. Genesis 17:1-3 states,
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.”
This was the instruction and now Abraham had to make a decision. We also need to make a decision, that is, we need to do a soul searching and say just like Abraham, what can I do to walk with him blameless?
When a decision is made you are halfway through your journey of change. After examining your present situation you must change to a pattern that will reflect a better future. This point is very important. Please note regardless of your lot in life, you can build something beautiful on it. That is taking the first step. We do not all have the same opportunity in life, we are not all born with silver spoons in our mouth, we do not all have the same upbringing. We all originated from different unparalleled communities. Some of us were raised in affluent societies while some were raised in areas with no infrastructure whatsoever, but that is your background. When your mind is made up for change however, your background cannot pin you down anymore. There was a world renowned brain surgeon raised in the projects where life expectancy for young black males was around 18, a drug infested community, the type of place that you would call the hood. When they issued test scores he was either the lowest or second to the lowest. He had the kind of brain you would say could not be recharged. This man is Ben Carson and is now a house hold name. Denzel Washington is another success story that did not start like one, but the spark of a decision hit him while sitting in his mother’s hair salon where a woman who was practically a prophetess as I would refer to her, walked in and gave him like 3 minutes of eye popping word that stuck to him like glue. A decision was made and the path he was currently on was reversed. He too is a household name around the globe today. I know you don’t need any sermon to know that drugs will destroy one’s life, and that cigarettes will eventually kill you of cancer, and that to live a fulfilled life one must be intimate with the Supreme Being. I’m sure you know all this. If you continue to live a life of deceit the law of karma will catch up with you one day. You know very well that if you can’t forgive others you will end up living a miserable retched life without accomplishment, because as you never forgive you too won’t be forgiven, so a resolution to forgive and be at peace with everyone is a good resolution to make. I talked about taking the first step, well, while that is important, many people fail to perform because they never start. A lot of people have ideas and business plans that never launch because they never start. After making a decision, launch into it! And once you start you want to be deliberately be PERSISTENT results may not come the first day, week, or month, but do not forget Rome was not built in a day. Make sure you don’t quit too soon. This is the very reason people did not perform last year. Even if it takes three months stay through it, for winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win. The word says study to show thyself approved. Keep to it! You are a student. Before dropping the class, why not talk to those that are more brilliant then you in that subject? Why not seek tutorial time with the lecturer? Don’t forget that “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,” seek help and don’t write yourself off too quickly. For as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the rest of the stair case.” You don’t need to see all the steps before you embark on the journey. Every next step is the walk of faith. Celebrate small changes and when you see a little progress intentionally make a big deal about it. So, celebrate small success. Imagine you want to quit smoking and you happen to be one that smokes a pack per day, and down to the third month of trying you wake up the next day and see you have 4 sticks left in a pack of 20, it means you’ve been able to cut your consumption of cigarettes to 16 as opposed to 20. Celebrate and rejoice over that little success. You may wonder why, since you still smell like cigarettes and you still pump nicotine into your system. Well, you’ve reduced by 4 sticks and that calls for celebration. It’s a positive reinforcement for you. With this mindset, before you know it, you will cut your cigarettes to 10 per day, and over the months to 5 per day and eventually you will walk out smoke free. Consistency, persistence, determination and endurance are all coming to play here. Do not quit trying. Its 2018 and I decree it’s going to be your best year so far up until now. Your dream is still achievable. Stay positive, your December will show the accomplishment of decisions and resolutions made in your January.