These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. —Moses, Deuteronomy 6:6
Is your New Year’s resolution among the ones listed over there? Are you feeling anxious about claiming even one of them? If so, you’re in good company. Behavioral experts say the phrase “New Year’s resolution” is a misnomer—for most of us, anyway. Our “resolve” rarely survives the month of January, let alone an entire year. Questions then emerge, such as “Can we become better stewards of our intentions?” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could solve our “resolve” problem—once and for all?
Some problems don’t stay solved
A snowstorm hit my area the other day. By evening, I was shoveling the walkway and sidewalk. But the storm hadn’t ended. By morning, there was little evidence of the good work I’d done the previous evening. However, I was reminded that the law requires that passageways such as ours be kept clear. So, out I went—resolved to shovel again, and again, and again, if necessary.
Moses, writer of the book of Deuteronomy (which means second edition of the law), realized that keeping resolutions—even the ones laid down by God—is extremely difficult for mere mortals. He knew that when problems don’t stay solved, we sometimes lose our will to “re–solve” them.
As a result, Moses issued that second edition of the law, not because the first one had failed, but rather to provide a second hearing, additional instruction, and encouragement to the Israelites, who were about to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.
Impress [the laws] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (6:7-9).
As we go into our “Promised Land,” 2009, may we remember that being resolved means repeatedly saying “no” to such vices as fast food and “yes” to a healthier diet; saying “no” to distractions that keep us from God and “yes” to goals that point us to Him—and doing everything possible to remind ourselves of those goals.
If you’re still shaky, then allow Moses’ words to inspire you: “Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you” (6:3).