“Oh brother, not another New Year resolutions article.”
Yes, sorry to disappoint. This would be another resolution article. But, this one may be different in comparison to others….key word “maybe”. I know some people have issues with “New Year resolutions”. Some people believe resolutions are a waste of time because the individual never sees it through or why the individual waits ‘til New Years, why not just start the resolution right when you realize it. While there are others who think New Year resolutions are an opportunity for a fresh start in some areas at the beginning of a new year. These see it more as being annually opportunistic.
What if I told you that the Bible endorsed New Year resolutions? Hmmm.
It doesn’t. However, the Bible does endorse making resolutions (i.e. making a firm decision to do something or not do something). It just doesn’t specify a particular point of time of when to start. So, if you choose to make and start your resolution at the beginning of the New Year, that’s cool. If you choose to make and start your resolution right now, or on February 22nd, or June 5th, or whenever, that’s cool too. Whatever your view is of New Year resolutions, we all can agree that making resolutions aren’t a bad thing, unless it’s a resolution towards something sinful or ungodly.
Resolutions can be pretty much anything: health, fitness, finances, more discipline, time management, breaking bad habits, etc. And then there’s Apostle Peter’s. Neatly tucked away in Peter’s first epistle is one rich verse with four timeless principles every believer should make as resolutions each year. They’re not your typical resolutions, though they read like resolutions. They will never get old, and they will influence other areas of our life. These four are worthy resolutions:
“Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
Honor all people – Make a resolution to show respect to everyone, treat all with value. The context does not imply that the honor we show is only to those whom we believe deserve it or those who appear honorable, but to all people.
One would think honoring all people would be second nature for Christians. Sadly, it’s not. Christians are not known for honoring all people. We’re not even good at showing respect to one another. That’s a hard reality to admit, and many may disagree with me. But let’s imagine if we followed this simple principle. Imagine if we treated everyone with respect and value. How many more people would experience the love of Christ? What kind of further impact could we have in Christ name? How stronger would our relationships be? How better a legacy would we leave for the upcoming generations? Every human is an image-bearer of God. Therefore we are to respect and value them as such.
Love the brotherhood – Make a resolution to love the brethren. Love here is an action. We are to actively love one another just as Christ loves us, which includes the first principle of honoring one another as well.
You can’t say you love God and not love His Body. You can’t say you honor God and despise His image in those He redeemed. That’s oxymoronic (1Jn. 2:9-11; 3:10-18; 4:7-8). Yes there are times where we drive each other crazy, and get on each other’s nerves. We’re sinners, we’re still incomplete. But that’s not an excuse to ignore Christ’s command to love one another (Jn. 13:34). Our love for one another is one of our greatest witnesses of Christ to the world (Jn. 13:35; 17:23). How more unified would the Church be if we sought to actually love the brotherhood and not just say we do? Therefore, go out of your way to extend yourself and seek to actively love your brethren from different churches and denominations, different theological positions, different races and nationalities, and so on. Love the brotherhood so that others can come to know the Greatest Lover of our souls!
Fear God – Make a resolution to revere God. In context this term “fear” used here (Gr. phobeisthe) is conveying high esteem and humble submission. Peter is instructing us to highly esteem and humbly submit to God.
This principle is the motivating force behind all the others. If we highly esteem and humbly submit to God we’ll honor all people, love the brotherhood, and honor our governing authorities. If we don’t have a healthy fear of God, then we will not have a healthy view of obedience and pleasing God. If we don’t have a healthy fear of God, then we will not have a healthy view of local church life and greater unity in the Body of Christ. If we don’t have a healthy fear of God, then we will not have a healthy view of personal holistic growth and evangelism. Revering God is the same as loving God. You can’t say you do one and not the other, just like you can’t say you love God and not obey Him (Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24). If we are God fearing, then we’ll be God revealing.
Honor the king – Make a resolution to respect your governing authorities. This would also take in account respecting the governing laws of your land.
Many times governing authorities get a bad rap. Some times it is because of their own doing. Other times it could be guilty by association or guilty by generalization. Regardless to what kind of person the governing authority may be, we’re instructed to respect and submit to them so long as it’s not in opposition to God’s law. Mind you, this principle came during a time when the Romans were persecuting Christians and an emperor who in a few years would burn Christians to death. If they were instructed with this, we have no excuse. We respect the governing authorities of the land and their laws out of respect and submission to the Governing Authority of all Creation and His laws.
What I tell you, not your typical resolutions, but very much influential. Are these not resolutions worth keeping? I think they are. And they’re Bible-endorsed. You can start these resolutions in the New Year or whenever you realize you need to tighten up in these areas throughout the year. Not only will these resolutions help us grow, but they’ll also help us to be more winsome for Christ. I believe if we keep these four resolutions we’ll see a considerable difference each year and so will others.