Rethinking resolutions in 2015
By Jim Phelps
Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around interests of self-improvement and breaking bad habits. For many men, these include making healthier choices by losing weight and exercising, managing debt while pursuing financial prosperity, and reducing stress.
All these issues are important and need to be encouraged beyond the first few weeks of the New Year. But, for a second, think about who these resolutions truly impact; they are primarily selfish to a degree.
Although there are exceptions, it’s rarely a priority of mankind to earnestly resolve to give more to others. When considering what you would like to do differently in 2015, take a moment to think about how that resolution can help your fellow man.
In resolution-making, it’s easy to get wrapped up in varying degrees of self-centered goal-setting and to forget the needs of others. Albeit, setting goals to honor God by shaping up your heart, soul and mind is extremely important.
However, let it be done for the sole purpose of glorifying our Savior. Men should be reminded often that there’s another picture outside the boundaries of our lives being painted with brush strokes of eternal impression.
Tom Davis in Red Letters asserts, “One day the history books will be written about us – what we did and what we didn’t do. We’re writing that history today. But how will it read?
Will the books say, ‘This was a generation that took the sanctity of human life issue seriously,’ or, ‘This was a generation that lived out the Christian message by caring for the poor, saving the lives of the innocent, and eradicating extreme poverty.’? Or will those pages be filled with pictures of our opulence, evidence of our selfishness?”
Consider The Bigger Picture
This month, while men preoccupy themselves with New Year’s resolutions and bask in the short-lived success of reaching their goals, may they be reminded of the stark realities of the world around them. AIDS is rampant, Ebola is spreading, and orphans are dying.
While some aspire to fulfill a resolution or two, others are fighting for their lives and waiting for someone to come to their aid. Just imagine the impact if the resolution was to be a part of the solution?
Live Out God’s Word
Paul instructs the followers of Christ at Philippi, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV.
By all means, men should strengthen themselves in this New Year, but not at the expense of turning a blind eye to the needs of others. The latter must be halted by the leadership of the church.
A common response is, “I don’t have a heart for that” – that mission, that charity, that country. Is it better for a man to have a heart only for himself?
Such a person would have good reason to question whether or not the Holy Spirit is truly living inside of him. After all, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17 NIV8
The focus should be on teaching and learning Scripture as a part of everyday life and then actually living out everything God’s word demands. Christ helped others to demonstrate love and what we were created and commanded to do.
Be An Influencer
New Year’s resolutions help men practice accountability and are fun to talk about. However, let this year be a year to eliminate the mainstream inclination for men to focus solely on self. Consider the following two questions:
1. Why do some men have so little interest in helping others?
2. How can these men be influenced to give more generously?
The answers can be used to begin developing or to strengthen a current plan that ignites the change necessary for men to become more likely to help others. Influencer, a book by Joseph Grenny, said, “We call this ability to create changes in human behavior influence and the people who do it influencers.
At the end of the day what qualifies people to be called ‘leaders’ is their capacity to influence others to change their behavior in order to achieve important results.” When a greater number of men begin to demonstrate frequent acts of generosity, there will be extraordinary repercussions to the world and to God’s church.
Jim and his wife, Cori, are passionate followers of Christ.
They work to seek financial support
and raise awareness for various
nonprofits. Jim is particularly
interested in mobilizing men
and growing small groups. He
is also available for small group