Don’t Waste Time On Your Resolutions

Core Decay


Ending 2014 and looking towards 2015. Most people will be starting to look at their new year’s resolutions. Reviewing how they went this year and perhaps altering or worse, copy-pasting last years. Let me tell you know. Don’t waste your time. Really. I’ve stopped for a few years now.

Get ready for a very morbid post. But this matches my current mood and I won’t hide it. What’s the point of making a list and checking it twice? Haven’t you all seen the result of following rules? Because of our imperfection and sin, our default nature is NOT to follow. NOT to keep to what is good. Let me ask you in another way. Why do you think we have so much issues resisting to eat unhealthy and fatty food? That’s because we can’t help ourselves. We can’t set a rule to lose weight and simply follow it. It’s not natural and we won’t do it. Or we will try for a while, burn out, bounce back and feel like rubbish all over again. But it’s a wise thing to do, you might say. We should at least try… you might say. A writer in the Bible has already worked it out many thousand new years ago:

“Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:13-17 ESV)

We try to be wise because others are wise. We try to be fit and slimmer because others are. We try to be nicer to people because it’s a “nice” thing to do. We try to be polite because that’s how we can avoid conflict. But all the way through it at the deepest layer, it’s all fake. I’m by nature not polite. I’ll forget to say “hi” to someone because I’m socially awkward. I have to “train” myself to do it. People get surprised when I tell them I’m an extreme introvert. I try to be in the “in” crowd to appear more intelligent around my peers so I can have a conversation with “smarter” people and at least hold a conversation. But for what? To what end? What is “genuineness”. What is “being fake”?

Here’s my theory borrowed from a sermon I heard preached a while back (can’t remember which): Your inner core drives your mind, your mind drives your actions. Let me explain. If you are driven by fear. Say… Fear of acceptance. Then what you’ll fill your mind with maybe… success, looking good, materialism, hanging out with cool people… Your actions then match that. Another example could be that you’re driven by fear of self-worth. Similarly your mind might be filled with things that would validate your worthiness in this world. You’ll do charity, seek love from your family, your boss, your peers. You see, if I dig and dig and dig deep deep down into my core, I scare myself! I find this dark black matter – sin… it’s in need of repair. Then I realised what the bible says about sin… NO ONE has an inner core completely pure. Your actions, define who you are, we sometimes call this your character. Your mind drives this character. But what drives your mind??? Deep dark black matter!

I thank God that through His grace, I’ve started the repair process. It’s called sanctification. I know that as His child, I am secure with Him in eternity, but as long as I’m still alive in this fallen world, my brokenness still has a long way to go. I’ve also since learnt that if I allow my inner core to be filled by Him, my mind and my actions would automatically align and change. And I thank God that it has… My “lists” of resolutions become easier to achieve. ‘Cos my mind will be generating resolutions that are aligned to His purposes. But unfortunately, my flesh is still in the way all the time. I still think I can make a list, my list and follow it. That is why I don’t bother anymore. I want to follow His list. I want to fight to keep going on His plans and not mine.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

I’m ranting and I know this post may not make sense to you… I am not trying to tell you what to do with your resolutions. But I know that unless your core is aligned and filled with God, seeking Him, wanting to know Him more and more, everything else is meaningless. Vanities, as the writer puts it above. It’ll either burn, pass away, get lost, or fail. Even relationships. We can keep trying and trying. But without the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart. Nothing will change. Nothing. So our default position instead of making lists for resolutions is to be on our knees. To pray that the Holy Spirit works and works powerfully to refine ones core towards Him.

Supplemental edit: The transforming work of grace (from within) lies with 10,000 little changes refined by the Holy Spirit… Paul Tripp writes it best here:

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