When I was in college, I was determined to never drink a drop of alcohol. Now, I always have a bottle of red wine to crack open when friends come over and enjoy a great cocktail.
What changed? Did I fail in my resolution?
The first answer? I did. The second? Both yes and no.
I had very, very good reasons for not drinking back then, ones that I still respect and hold in high regard. Those were protective boundaries at the time. But as I got older, matured, became more disciplined, I didn’t need those same types of borders. While I still have strong restrictions on how often I drink, how much I can consume before cutting myself off, etc., I can now enjoy a glass of wine at a vineyard or a cocktail at a cool new bar with zero guilt.
Some would look at this as failed resolve. But should we be slaves to the same set of restrictions and resolutions for our entire life? Or, should they grow and change as we do to fit each season? I think the latter.
Another example is my high school resolution to never watch ‘R’ rated movies. (Note: Unless discussing something that explicitly is sinful, I veer away from the word ‘never’ now when discussing things I will or won’t do.) I still have guardrails on the entertainment I consume (largely governed by what it’s doing to my heart and relationship with Christ on any given day), but that boundary is no longer in place. After all, there are many good, teaching movies that are rated ‘R’ for their own reasons. (13 Hours? Passion of the Christ? Ring a bell?)
And this is not just subtraction. I have ADDED resolutions and restrictions over the past years. I try my hardest to be off social media at least a day a week and try to keep my phone off for large portions of that day as well. I’ve learned over the years what technology does to me, and that “restriction” is a way of fighting back against it.
When I became a vegetarian, I added a “restriction” against meat into my life. My life has been a cycle of added and subtracted resolutions and restrictions. Don’t hear what I’m not saying: Guardrails are good, necessary, and Biblical. We just need the right ones to fit each season.
So I first look to Scripture and attempt to apply the guardrails it contains to my life. Then, where there is freedom in deciding, I try to make the decisions that best fit me in that season. Godly people have a lot of freedom, so lets not become slaves to rigid, never changing resolutions that were never even placed upon us.