We’re just a couple of weeks removed from people asking the question “What are your new year’s resolutions?” I’ve heard a wide variety of answers to this question over the years, and they have varied from fitness goals, to pledges to be more organized, to desires to grow relationships with God and others, and everything else in between. Sadly, statistics show us that many have already given up on those resolutions that they made.
While it’s admirable to have goals for a new year, be wary of making promises that you don’t intend to keep.
What do I mean by that?
In the Disney animated movie “Beauty and the Beast,” the Beast is looking for ways to keep Belle at the castle, but in a kind manner, so he consults Lumiere and Cogsworth – a talking candlestick and a talking clock, respectively – for advice. Cogsworth suggests “flowers, chocolates, promises you don’t intend to keep,” but the Beast opts to give Belle an entire library instead.
Why am I highlighting this random scene in a Disney movie, and what does it have to do with us as Christians? For starters, the fact that making empty promises is a suggestion to help someone feel more at ease should be unsettling. We should not be verbally setting goals – especially when it comes to our faith – just to fit in with everybody else, nor should we be declaring such intentions without planning on following through just to make those around us feel better. After all, God didn’t just promise that Abraham would have innumerable descendants to help him feel more comfortable about uprooting his entire life and move to Canaan (Hebrews 6:13-18).
Not only that, but whatever promises we make, whether they relate to our health, our mind, our actions, or our relationship with God, we need to be honest with God and ourselves when we make them. And my best advice when you don’t know what to work on this year is to pray. Pray that God will reveal to you the things you need to change, and He will be faithful in helping you through whatever comes your way.
All this being said, not all promises are or will be empty. Our best example is the God we serve; “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45).
So, what promises can – and should – we make this new year in regards to our faith? Here are a few to get you started:
- We can promise to love our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:36-38).
- We can promise to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:39).
- We can promise to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
Any other goals you want to set can be up to you and God, and you should consider telling someone, whether they are family member or friend, about them so that you can keep accountable. And you can make these promises anytime during the year…not just the first week of January.
Promises are not something to be taken lightly by any means. But if we look to the God we serve – Whose promises never fail – we will have His help in making promises we do intend to keep.
By Savannah Cottrell