About this time of year, many people get excited about the new year. A new year can be a new beginning and an excellent point to check life’s milestones, past goals and access one’s personal situation in life. It doesn’t necessarily take a new year to do this, but it seems like a good time to start anew. Coming up on this new year, I have heard and listened to a few people talk about their resolutions and others (at church, for example) speak about how best to go about fulfilling those resolutions because, let’s face it, everyone has had goals that were never completed and that were eventually discarded. This year, I’m thinking about a new approach.
Whether it is dieting, taking up a new hobby, catching up on reading or starting an exercising routine, change can be difficult. Getting into the habit can be the hardest part and discouragement can often take place soon after beginning and possibly soon before ending for good.
But how about this for a new years’ resolution: a surrendering of one’s will completely and wholly to the Lord. That’s a worthy goal, is it not? It goes along with Christ’s injunction, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25). Should we find ourselves lost in the cause of Christ, our will being given to Him, we will find our life, that is, eternal life. No doubt He has our best interests in mind and would not lead us astray; why not follow Him?
More practically, however, we find ourselves less able to follow through with this than often we would like. Why is that? What prevents us from keeping in line with His teachings? Often, I find myself thoroughly dedicated at one moment, but then find my resolve slipping and my condition back to what is once was. Yes there are temptations but ought not we to be able to overcome such?
There are a few reasons for this, and I’d like to address one in particular. I have found in my own life, that even though my desire to improve is pure and my resolve strong, there are weaknesses because I am not thorough enough and there is usually something else in which I allow myself indulgence. How can I receive full strength from the Lord in breaking a bad habit when I willfully allow myself to continue in other habits. Maybe those habits aren’t even so bad. A bit of impatience toward a stranger. A little dishonesty. Or even just a few hours wasted in front of a TV or computer, time that could be spent being more productive. Moreover, the pride in me says that I can do these things and nothing bad will come of it because they are so small and insignificant. The temptation to keep doing these things is there while I make an attempt with my new resolution and I am weakened because my will isdivided. My new years’ resolution then is to be undivided.
If you want to apply this principle in your life, go ahead! The way is clear for anyone to do so. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have taken on a covenant, or a promise with God, that we will be willing to take upon ourselves Christ’s name, keep His commandments and always remember Him. There is no division or conditions in those words. Submit our will to adopt His name, keep the commandments, always remember Him. That is my goal this year and I invite everyone to do the same. Really and truly apply the phrase, “What Would Jesus Do?” in your life. Is it a sacrifice? Indeed it is. But it is worth every bit.