With the holidays behind us, most are now working hard to faithfully keep a New Year’s resolution.
Whether it is losing weight, exercising more, working less or spending more time with Family, a New Year’s resolution is usually contingent upon a sacrifice. We give something up, to get something in return. We want change because we know there are better versions of ourselves right around the corner.
However, if the new “us” looks so good, why do so few people follow through with their resolution? Some statistics say that as many as 80 percent of people have quit their new goal by February.
I think this is because there is no joy in doing without. I can suffer without comfort and nourishment for a time, but eventually I need sustenance. I need joy.
There is no joy in suffering
without cause. Suffering for a cause, though, builds character. Suffering
for a cause promotes joy.
Romans 5:3-5 reads, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
So how can we make suffering matter?
Well, this is where faith can play a huge part in our lives. Spiritual endeavors are noble causes that can produce great joy in our lives. While we may not find joy in suffering over a diet, we may find great joy in fasting for a spiritual purpose. We can look at those things we want to accomplish and ask ourselves, “How can we sustain our efforts with spiritual goals?”
Rather than simply abstaining from something, we can replace that behavior with something like prayer. I don’t mean to say that if we put a spiritual spin on something that we then have divine help to make us fit into a new pair of jeans, but that whatever we want to accomplish in this world should be rooted in showing honor our God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 readers, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
This is effective because the best versions of ourselves are not contingent upon meeting some cultural goal or expectation, but rather we are our best selves when we are fulfilling our life’s purpose.
For people of faith, our purpose in life is to know and worship our God. Goals that help better align ourselves with God are the ones that really build endurance, character and hope, even in suffering. So let us strengthen our goals by honoring God in all we set out to do.