Looking for a change

Even if I make good and beneficial decisions for myself, my heart doesn’t always back them up and, what’s worse, it will end up desiring the exact opposite.

19 FEBRUARY 2016 · 13:00 CET


How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Don’t worry, it’s not an out-of-date question from a weeks-old article. It’s just that when someone wants to question somebody’s level of commitment, they say that their promises are like those we make for the New Year. They are never kept.

Granted, when the change of date arrives many of us cannot resist the urge to make up a strategy for an elusive new life. As a brief reflection exercise – who has time for more? – I suggest you reflect on how you are doing with those goals you set yourself during the euphoria of New Year’s Eve.

There, among friends – drink in hand – I heard you say that that was going to be your last cigarette. I also heard you promise starting a healthier diet come Monday, shelving sweets and second helpings. Have you made it?

All of the resolutions that we tend to make have two characteristics in common. The first is that they are beneficial to us. I have yet to meet someone who resolves to smoke twice as much, elevate their liver enzymes, increase their cholesterol, or give in to laziness in their day to day life.

The second characteristic is that they all sound reasonable the day we set them but seem more unachievable the farther along we get. For that reason it is very likely that whoever promised a healthy diet will get dragged down by a praline bun while queuing at the bakery, and whoever tried to quit smoking claims as their own the popular saying that, in this life, you have to die from something.

The big question is: if our new resolutions are good and beneficial for us, why is it so difficult to keep them? The answer has to do with the fact that they are all formulated by our conscience but executed by our desire. In other words: I decide one thing but my body wants something else.

Even if I make good and beneficial decisions for myself, my heart doesn’t always back them up and, what’s worse, it will end up desiring the exact opposite, which may be completely legal, like smoking tobacco or eating baked goods.

And this is ultimately the tragedy of human beings: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (…) For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15,18-19. NIV).

Sound familiar? It is as though the apostle Paul, were speaking about New Year’s resolutions. Yes, the Paul in the Bible, that out-of-style book that keeps speaking about things we haven’t been able to change in the last 2000 years.

If we do whatever we like, we will not always do what is good for us, and if we do what is good for us, we will not always like what we do. Can you imagine doing something that is good for you and at the same time wanting to do it with all your heart?

A new year will never give you that, but it is exactly what was promised by him who said: “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly”. Do you follow me?


Daniel Pujol is a journalist, and the responsible of several youth ministries.

This is an article of the Jesus on the Web 2016 series. You can learn more about the project visiting its website, Facebook and Twitter.

Published in: Evangelical Focus - #Jesusontheweb - Looking for a change