Top New Year's Resolution and why most won't succeed. The real obstacle nobody is talking ab
10 min Read
It's the first week of 2018, which can only mean one thing: the gyms are packed. It's resolution time. A time where almost every American takes a good hard look at themselves and strives to tackle some necessary goals. Quite literally, most Americans take a good hard look at themselves... in the mirror. What is 2018's most popular New Year's resolution? You guessed it: Lose weight. Again. Nicely put, most want to "get healthy". Every year it's always at the top of the list. Which makes sense because a good snapshot of our health is outwardly staring us in the face every morning. Getting healthy... it's a great New Year's resolution to have. Unfortunately, it's estimated that only 8% of people actually stick it out and successfully keep their New Year's resolutions. Anyone that truly wants to achieve their goals should take a moment to consider why 9 out of 10 fail. So, what are we missing? Hopefully this article will encourage you to self-evaluate, count your blessings, and take a better step towards what's truly important this year.
First, it's important to recognize that there are many factors as to why only 8% succeed as well as many influences that cause the other 92% to crash. Experts have said that many set unrealistic expectations. Many also fail to properly plan for success. And sure, there are some with a lack of vision. Again, there are many factors that cause the majority to fail. We are all individuals with differing personalities, desires, strengths, weaknesses, etc. However, for Americans, there is at least one obstacle that holds each of us back from achieving our New Year's targets. It's a hurdle every one of us faces each day, yet nobody seems to be talking about it.
We're all rich.
"Wait what? What does being rich have anything to do with achieving our New Year's resolutions??"
For many of you, this is instantly a silly idea and doesn't seem to line up. Especially since most of us do not consider ourselves rich. Wealthy, from the perspective of most Americans, involves a Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump life-style—one of which 99% of us are not living. To be fair, some would consider those two examples as exceedingly rich, but you get the idea. Most of us don't consider ourselves rich. But that's part of the problem. We are rich. In fact, we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Take a moment to look at it this way:
According to World Poverty Statistics:
50% of the world lives on $2.50 a day. That's not even $1000 a year!
3 billion of the world's population live on even less than $2.50 a day!
80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day... which again, is not even $4,000 a year.
The lowest median income is about $16,000 in the United States. And on top of that, there are plenty of government and private assistance programs that will walk alongside you.
Yep. According to World Poverty Statistics, you're rich. Take a moment to let that sink in...
So, what does this mean for your New Year's resolutions? You'll probably fail. "But wait, if I am rich, shouldn't I have more resources to succeed?" True. But your wealth is more of an inhibitor than a resource. Why? Because you can have almost everything your body craves—right now. Think about why most fail their goal to lose weight and get in shape. Our wealth plays an obvious role in this one and is one of the hardest to accomplish for us rich folk. Don't think so? It's true... Craving pizza? Order online and it will be here in 30-45 minutes. Work bought donuts? Don't mind if I do. Stressed out? That glass of wine I promised to avoid is just what I need. The fact is, when you're rich, all your temptations are within arm's length. If one took the time, they could go through each of their goals and find out how their wealth makes it even more difficult to achieve. Take away our access to the things that cause us to stumble, especially in regards to food and drink, and you have no choice but to succeed.
The reality is that we are very comfortable in our lives. Even though it doesn't seem like it all the time because we do have goals to achieve more, we are very secure and have almost everything our heart desires. And if we can't afford it, Visa will be happy to buy it for us. (But that would be breaking another one of our resolutions, right? Oh well...) Simply put, our mindset that believes we are not wealthy does not take away from the fact that we are.
However, being wealthy isn't a bad thing. It's just a major hurdle we must overcome. Wealth, if used beneficially, can not only help us achieve our goals, but it can impact other people's lives as well. Unfortunately, as history proves, wealth is more blinding than anything. In reality, the Top New Year's resolutions are actually established because of the negative fruit of our wealth. Think about it...
Get Healthy: because most of us have spent the year being unhealthy. Get Organized: because we have spent the last year enjoying ourselves and becoming more disorganized. Live Life to the Fullest, Learn New Hobbies, Spend Less/Save More, Travel, are all connected to our wealth. The resolution to "Live Life to the Fullest" may be one of the most overlooked sour fruits of wealth. No matter what we do, no matter what we have, it's never enough. The author of Ecclesiastes calls it "chasing after the wind." The richest person to have ever lived did exactly what we Americans continue to do: we chase the wind. It's never enough. We are so busy chasing the wind—the next thing—that we do not even stop to reflect on how blessed we are and how rich we truly are. Where others in the world are wondering how they are going to afford their next meal, or taking the trek to get their next gallon of dirty water, we are over here failing our New Year's resolutions.
Our wealth is our problem. We are chasing the wind. And when we are chasing the wind, it is easy to break our goals and go where the wind blows. Our self-control is hard to manage, and we are so busy chasing the wind that we do not even take the time to pause and rejoice in our blessings. Really, do we even have the right goals?
The real problem that is unseen on the Top New Year's resolution list for 2018? Not a mention of our spiritual health... which is yet again another fruit of our wealth. Why doesn't improving our relationship with our Creator make the cut? Exactly what scripture proclaims: wealth has a tendency to blind us and keep us from focusing on what's important. As Americans, all our necessities are more than taken care of, so our focus is not on survival. As any rich person throughout history, our focus tends to be on more enjoying life and finding more pleasures. But our spiritual health should always be at the top of the list. Our relationship with our heavenly Father should be the most important. In fact, Yeshua warned us that our riches have a better chance of keeping us from even entering the kingdom of heaven! Most know his firm words:
And Yeshua said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
Again. Almost every single American is rich, whether they would like to believe it or not. This message from our Messiah is for you. And not only does it have everything to do with your relationship with the Father, but it has everything to do with your salvation. Unfortunately, the Christian Church is not properly guiding the flock through the hurdles of our wealth. Most preachers and teachers today are on the same rat wheel as everyone else, chasing the dreams of tomorrow. This reality usually produces an ear-tickling sermon series.
Just like Yeshua said... it's not easy being rich. And instead of opening our eyes to our invisible chains, the Christian Church adds more blindness to keep us on the wide path. We are taught, if we just believe in Jesus, then we will be saved. Sure, when we proof text Romans 10:9, a proclamation that Jesus is Lord is all that is necessary for salvation. Just confess it to receive it!
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
The Christian Church teaches that if you simply say that you believe in Jesus, then you will be saved. Of course, Romans 10:9 proclaims the utmost truth, and Ephesians 2:8, which proclaims that we are saved by grace through our faith alone, is also pure gold. However, our Christian Church does not connect, illustrate, or proclaim the whole message of Scripture. Instead, this deficient message is built around a proof text and is lacking the full picture of scripture. And this incomplete picture is the major excuse that Christians subconsciously cling-to in order to continue a life in their wealth that allows them to chase the wind. Unfortunately, it is the "blanket of salvation" that gives comfort to those who wish to chase after their desires instead of submitting themselves to the Father completely. Our wealth makes it all the more difficult to see this.
Do not forget the stern words of James: even the demons believe—and shudder. It is not as simple as a proclamation of faith. Belief, especially in the mindset of the Hebrew authors, is always supported by action. Just as James puts it, faith without works is dead. I hope that our New Year's resolution failure rate will open our eyes to how wealthy we are, which should then allow us to hear Yeshua's stern warning that our salvation is always in danger if we are rich.
BUT THERE IS HOPE! And I'm here to encourage! Abraham was rich. Very very rich. The difference between him and most Americans is exactly what Solomon wanted his audience to learn from his mistakes: stop chasing the wind, turn around and lean into the Father. Abraham is a great example of what we should do. He had a relationship with the Father that we should all desire. What set him apart from the rest is that he put that relationship first—above all things. Above his marriage, above his children, and above his wealth. He is an example of a wealthy person that had his priorities straight. And he was righteous in the eyes of Yehovah. What did he do that made him successful? He did exactly what Yeshua commanded us to do:
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Abraham humbled himself over and over as an obedient child of the Most High. Yehovah commanded it, Abraham did it. He struggled like we all do, but his goal was to be an obedient child of Yehovah. That was his top priority. He had his doubts and disobedience along the way, but he trusted the Father enough to pick himself up and put His perfect instructions first. Even when one of those commands was to offer up his own son.
Abraham had true belief, because his actions backed up his words. He lived a life striving to obey our Father's voice fully, keeping His charge, His commandments, His statutes, and His Laws. Yehovah first, every time.
Faith supported by action, is true belief. That should be our New Year's resolution.
Our Messiah Yeshua was an even greater example of this. He kept every single one of our Father's instructions. Perfectly. He was the Torah in the flesh. We should all be striving to walk in his exact footsteps.
Unfortunately, if we go to a majority of the Christian Churches today, they will not teach you to follow in Yeshua's footsteps. They have lost their sight of his true image, and instead have twisted the scriptures to their own destruction. And our individual and communal wealth easily encourages us not to test their ear-tickling words to Holy Scripture. They tell us what our wealthy ears want to hear. So, not only will we fail to keep our 2018 New Year's resolutions... but most will fail in even taking the time to seek the whole truth of the Bible, let alone overcome the obstacle of our wealth to receive the free gift of salvation. It is not the mere desire that truly makes Yeshua our Messiah and Lord. It is not the simple proclamation that "Jesus is my Lord and Savior." It is not our church attendance that connects us to him either...
It is our sincere desire to put Yeshua and Yehovah first, that will even come close to having our eyes opened to the narrow path that leads to life. Unfortunately...
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'
And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
Do you know anyone who is even prophesying? Casting out demons in Yeshua's name? Or doing many mighty works in his name? Even though many call Yeshua Lord, they have not fully repented, but continue in their own ways. Most adopting the ways of the Christian church instead of the ways of Scripture. What does Yeshua say? Even though you call him Lord, and may do some of the things we were instructed to do, if you do not strive to keep the Torah, which is the will of Yehovah, he will declare: "I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
It is my prayer that every American count their blessings and recognize their wealth. Remember that Yehovah allows the rain and the sun to come down on both the just and the unjust. Don't consider your blessings as a sign you are on the right path. Instead, have your wealth cause you to self-evaluate. Heed the warning of the Messiah, that every one of the rich should be concerned about their salvation. And then do everything one can to get on their knees, as humble children before the Most High, and strive to be obedient to his perfect instructions. Ask for guidance: for eyes to see and ears to hear.
Every prophet—especially our Messiah—has had the same message:
REPENT! Return to the perfect instructions given by our Heavenly Father! They are not too difficult for you, neither are they far off. The Word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you CAN DO IT! You can do all things through Messiah who will give you strength. Repent of the lie that the Torah of the Most High is too difficult. Repent from that very blasphemy that contradicts Yehovah's very words (Deuteronomy 30:11). Seek the narrow path that our Messiah walked—striving to keep the Torah just as he did. Yeshua will be your advocate as you stumble. He will walk alongside you as you're guided by the Holy Spirit. Do not worry about clothing or food, but know that our Father will give you those things as he knows you need them. Do not fear for the future, but fear Him and lean into Him. Return to the image he created you—His image. Repent and return to the only image we have of our Messiah! Return to Yehovah's perfect and holy commands!
Defy the odds. Heed the warning our Messiah gave to the rich. Seek the narrow path. Make obedience to Yehovah your 2018 goal. If you truly love the Father, and you truly want to walk as our Messiah called you to do. Surrender. Give up your worldly desires, humble yourself, and become a true child of Almighty Yehovah. He will support you. You are not alone. Nothing is too difficult when you are a child of Yehovah.
I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.
Sean is a former Atheist who was finally awoken to the reality of our Creator—which lead him to the one place he thought he would never step foot: “Bible College.” During his studies, our Heavenly Father flipped his Christian worldview upside down in order to reveal the Whole truth of His perfect Word. As a follower of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Sean encourages believers to deepen their faith, seek the truth, test everything, and be willing to walk in the true image they were created: the image of the Most High and his flawless son.