The making of New Year’s resolutions is nothing new. (a) The Babylonians were doing so 4,000 years ago. On their new year, which occurred in mid-March, loyalty to their king was affirmed, and promises were made to their gods (Sarah Pruitt, The History of New Year’s Resolutions, history.com). (b) The Romans did so more than 2,000 years ago. Julius Caesar established January 1 as the beginning of the new year c 46 B.C. January was named for Janus, the two-faced god. Janus guarded arches, gates and doorways, looking ahead and behind. The Romans also believed that Janus looked backward into the past, and forward into the future. The Romans offered sacrifices to Janus, and made promises for the coming year (ibid; The New Book of Knowledge, Vol. 13, p. 208, 1985). (c) “For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future” (Sarah Pruitt, The History of New Year’s Resolutions, history.com).
God created this universe in such a way that man could keep track of time (Genesis 1:14-15). Our time on earth is brief, and quickly passing away (Psalm 90:10, 12).
It is good to take time for self-examination. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the Faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). It is wise to take an honest look “into the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25).
It is good to make spiritually sound resolutions. The lost son resolved, “I will arise and go to my father…” (Luke 15:18). Paul said, “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Not all resolutions have the proper priority. Jesus told a parable about a rich fool. He said, “’I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater and there I will store all of my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:18-21).
What will you resolve this year? And what will you do? Action should follow resolution.