I still enjoy setting New Year’s resolutions. There is something about the fresh start of new goals. I take my resolutions seriously, but also recognize that setting a path doesn’t guarantee that I will take that path, as demonstrated by a few of my unreached resolutions from 2008.
A good example of this is an article at WebMD from earlier this week about how virginity pledges made no difference in whether or not teens were going to have sex before marriage (82% of the pledgers denied ever having taken the pledge!). I don’t want to try and do a full critique of celibacy campaigns like True Love Waits, but it does demonstrate that if we want to live a life of integrity, we need more than a promise.
I don’t avoid adultery simply because it is wrong. It’s not enough to just know that it is wrong, and it never has been. This is why Paul says in Romans 8 that the law could never bring us wholeness. I love the way Peterson translates verse 4:
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
So I’m planning on making new resolutions for 2009, but I am more aware of my need for the Spirit to bear fruit in me. The work of the Spirit gives my resolutions meaning and power, both of which I lack on my own.