New Year’s resolutions are a natural feature of creation’s rhythms—at least that’s my excuse for thinking about them. When we wake up in the morning, we make plans for our day. When Monday morning comes, we make plans for our week. When a new season rolls in, it usually brings change to our daily routines. And when the calendar turns to another year, we get a redo on last year’s goals.
My 2016 plans included reading the Bible through in a year, which is one of my goals every year. As an inducement I usually purchase a new Bible version or try a new reading strategy. This year I went with a computer program that brought each day’s reading to my inbox. If I count speed reading and skimming through some of the passages that are notorious killers of Bible reading plans—genealogies, Old Testament law, and a few sections of the prophets—I more or less followed through on this plan.
I can’t remember my other plans, though I’m sure they were worthy ones.
For 2017 I have a few things in mind. They do not have the weight of Jonathan Edwards’ 70 resolutions that begin, “Resolved, I will. . . .” My list is more like plans, hopes and hope-so’s.
- I have a new six-volume ESV Bible that has no identified verses or chapters. I aim to read through all six.
- I plan to read something from Scripture out-loud, with my wife, everyday. It only counts if she is awake.
- I hope to ponder the usefulness of the marital analogy for understanding how we are “in Christ.” I have enjoyed thinking about this over the last few months and want to continue in it.
- During 2016, I had three memorable quarrels with my wife for which the aftershocks lasted longer than 24 hours. Ugh, I hated them. I hope for no more than one memorable quarrel during 2017, and I hope it ends within one hour. This will take one more leap in humility and repentance, a growing vision to love her more than I want to be loved, and a growing love for Jesus above all else.
- I hope to be steadfast in Christ through the struggles that will inevitably come, which means, in part, that I want to complain less. And I hope to enjoy Christ, his creation and his people even more.
I know these goals sound insular. But my expectation is that movement in any of them will send me outward in new ways, and Sheri and I have already spoken about a few goals for family, friends, and neighbors. We have also been stirred up recently to understand the experience of those who are poor or have been oppressed. Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, has been catalytic as have the experiences of some brothers and sisters at our church.
My wife has approved this message.