Don’t make resolutions! I can’t believe I actually said that. Don’t make resolutions? Isn’t that the American way? Isn’t that the way to change?

I may hear from many of you with lots of objections (and I hope I do!) but I’d like to suggest that our motive not be to make resolutions and grit our teeth and become ….whatever…more efficient, more trusting, more peaceful, more patient, or read our Bible more.

I’d like to challenge us to go “below the waterline” to find out why we struggle with inefficiency, lack of trust, worry, anger, or not having time for Bible reading. When we’ve found out the underlying issue, we can ask for God’s forgiveness and be cleansed from our wrong motive. Then we can respond out of a purified heart. 

And dare I say it? We won’t have to make a resolution to make ourselves do something better. It will flow out of abiding in Christ. 

I can’t think of any Bible verse referring to resolutions but Joel 2:12-13 refers to the heart’s motives:

“Yet even now, declares the LORD,  return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.

Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;”

The Lord God wants us to turn our hearts to Him, not our garments (representing outward appearance or behavior). If we turn our hearts, then we will see God empowering us from the inside out.

I think the references to God’s qualities are more important than we might initially think: his graciousness, mercy, patience, and steadfast love.

How does God’s nature connect with turning our hearts? Because the reason we don’t turn our hearts to Him is because we don’t trust Him. We’re still like Eve in the Garden believing Satan’s hiss: “Don’t you see? He’s withholding something good from you. He doesn’t want your best.”

Our hearts can only be transformed if we believe the truth about God, that He wants only our best and even when things don’t go well, He is still giving us the best for each of us. His motive is always to love us well. 

And I’m not so sure that just making a resolution to do something better goes to the heart of believing the truth about God.

What do you think? Maybe you’re connecting the two as you make your resolution? Let me know. 

And if you are interested in going “below the waterline” to find out the motives for your behavior–and change ungodly reactions, can I be so bold as to suggest the book my husband, Larry, and I have written? Never Ever Be the Same–(order on amazon). I truly believe our book will draw your heart to trust in God’s love more.