God isn’t into resolutions. He is into covenants.
A resolution is something you decide to. A covenant is an action God takes because he chose you.
Every New Year the talk winds around to resolutions. Within the conversation somewhere a chuckle is given when someone points out the resolutions never last very long.
Why is that?
I think it’s because resolutions inherently are something we decide to do on our own. I want to exercise more. I want to eat better. I want to save money for Christmas. They are individual decisions that ride on rails of self-discipline- something most of us have a hard time maintaining over a long period of time.
Studies have shown and countless testimonies have proven that success comes when we are in a partnership with someone to achieve the goal. Why do you think Weight Watchers have groups that meet all over the place to report the progress of weight loss? Why do you think AA works? The success rate climbs extensively when we choose to make a resolution with someone else.
I think this is why God is into covenants and not resolution.
What is a covenant?
A covenant is like the relationship you enter into when you get married. You make incredible vows to do life together. You say I choose you to one person for life. It’s a wonderful moment. However, a covenant relationship in God’s eyes goes much deeper than just saying he chooses you and loves you. American culture (and western civilization as a whole) has trivialized the marriage relationship to such a degree that this metaphor fails to live up to the relationship God has with us as Christians.
When God made his covenant with Abraham it was one to last until the end of time and beyond. After this covenant is made Abraham breaks it numerous times, and yet over and over again God renews the covenant with Abraham through animal sacrifice, by providing for him, and the birth of his Son, Isaac.
As you follow Abraham’s sons you see God constantly refer to the covenant God made with Abraham, even though Isaac, Jacob and Esau, have a hard time living up to that covenant. Then you get into Israelite history and the nation of God wanders from him time and again- yet God still refers to his covenant and how His plan for generations was to come through them. Then you get into the New Testament and a New Covenant is born through the blood of Christ. Again, we see the early church mess up and yet God continues with the covenant he has made with his people. Baptism and communion are reminders of this incredible covenant we have with God.
The only reason Israel had its covenant with God is because God chose them. The only reason we have a covenant with God is while we were sinners God chose us.
Here is what I see is the difference between a covenant and a resolution. A resolution is something we do for our benefit and often we fail at accomplishing it. A covenant is a relationship that is committed to loving one another with all the quirks, failures, and disappointments along the way. Success and failure are included in the bargain.
A covenant says I will get back up after I fail because someone is depending on me. It also says to the one you are in partnership with that I am committed to you even if you fail me, don’t come through for me, or even set your will against me. I will still love and care for you.
This new year understand God has not made a resolution, but has entered into a covenant with you no matter what. My suggestion is that you have that same attitude in your relationship to Him. That even when you think God has failed you, done something you don’t understand, or even disappointed you, that you still love him, because you are responding to the kind of love God has already given you.
So go ahead and commit to reading your Bible more, praying more, or being more loving and joyful, but remember that when you fail in your resolution the covenant of God with you still stands.