The News Chronicle’s Editor, Amaechi Agbo, spoke with Rev Isaiah Sam-Amaga Jr., Coordinating Pastor, Foundation Faith Church, Salem Family, Utako, Abuja concerning New Year resolution. Excerpts.
TNC: What is New Year resolution?
Rev. Isaiah: Well, in my study about new year resolution, I have seen over the years that a new year resolution is a promise someone makes to himself/herself, to do this or that at each particular year. But if I look at the application of New Year resolution, it is not really feasible. There are very few people who make New Year resolutions and actually keep them. People will make promises to change their diet or to start jogging; they make all kinds of pledges to themselves and sometimes, 98% of them do not keep it. Only a few 2% keeps it till the end of the year.
For me, a New Year resolution is good but if you take a vow to yourself, it is stronger than a New Year resolution. You tell yourself as a Christina you want to read one chapter of the Bible every day and pray to God to help you keep it. You are not the one that can help yourself; all helps come from God. So I would rather advise people to turn their New Year resolutions to a vow that they take.
People take New Year resolution in an attempt to better their lives. Most new year resolutions are positive promises, so if those promises are positive, then you need the God of positivity to help you because your will can always bend, your decisions can always change but God Almighty help you to maintain good habit.
The honest truth is that your destiny is not in God’s hand. Everybody always say that God has his/her destiny or God controls his/her destiny’, no. Your destiny has left His hand from the day you were born.
Let me tell you how destinies are formed; destiny starts from habit, in fact, destiny starts from thought, and your thought forms your habit, your habit forms your character and your character forms your destiny.
So the moment you tell yourself that in this new year, this is the person you want to become, you start thinking it because as he thinks in his heart, so is he. That is what Proverbs 23:7 says. You ultimately become your thought. Whatever you think is what you say, what you say is what you believe, what you believe is what you behave and what you behave is what you will become.
If you are a smoker and you want to quit smoking, then start thinking yourself without the nicotine. Think about yourself that you don’t depend on the alcohol.
If you are not doing well academically in school, tell yourself you can be a more brilliant student this year; think of yourself as the first in your class. The moment you think it, your life begins to evolve in that then you develop the habit around it. If you are thinking that you will be the first in your second term, start developing reading habit. Let that form your character that you are a studious student and at the end of second term, you become number one.
TNC: Is New Year resolution biblical?
Rev. Isaiah: The honest truth is that you can apply it to some scriptures. For instance, every year, for me, I take a new vow to increase my level of giving. Let me give you an example, if I used to give N10 in every service, I will make a vow to God that this year, I want to give more than that because I want God to increase my pocket. And because I want God to increase my pocket, I want to increase my giving.
In a way, it applies to Christians but I don’t practise New Year resolution rather I practise renewal of my vow. You don’t entre marriage as a resolution, you entre marriage as a vow because it is more serious than a resolution – you take an oath till death do you part and you keep it. That is what I do. I will like everybody to apply that level of commitment to your vow; if you want a better life, take a stronger commitment in your resolution.
New Year resolution is good but I will like you to take a stronger commitment for positivity because every year your life supposed to climb higher and higher. If you are going through the same thing year-after-year, it means you have not graduated, that you are repeating class.
I will advise everybody to take a stronger commitment. This year 2017 is a different year and everybody I believe can make it. The moment you tell yourself you can be on top even in the midst of this our economy, it can happen.
TNC: Is there punishment/consequence for people who make New Year resolutions but failed to keep them?
Rev. Isaiah: Promises can be broken. Has anybody been held accountable for breaking his own promise? The person that said he will not drink again is the same person that by March and April has started gulping four or five bottles of bear in two hours. The consequence about not being able to commit to positive change is that your life swings deeper into negativity.
Nobody will physically punish you but life and time will tell. No generation is waiting for anybody, everybody is running; in my generation people are running. Everyone is running towards achievement.
Even Apostle Paul says we are all running in a race but at the end, one receives the prize. Anybody who says he wants to do something, guarantee that your neighbour is also saying the same thing even if both of you have not told yourselves but if you break your own promise and he keeps his, automatically, he will be ahead of you and in 10 years’ time, two of you will never be mates.
If you look at every class that graduates from the university, you will see that in 20 years, some will be calling others oga (boss). Not everybody will be at the same level in life, so you determine your own level. If you take a New Year resolution, to be positive, to change and go higher in life, and you decide to break it, thinking that there is no punishment for it, you are doing yourself. You are not doing anybody. Life will punish you because overtaking is allowed for the person who is behind you.
I am doing my best to catch up with the generation before me because my generation is running towards accomplishment. In life, when you want to talk to your children, you should be able to enumerate your accomplishments before them. Life is all about result; result is an answer to insult.
TNC: Considering that many people do not keep their New Year resolutions, do you encourage them to make resolutions each year?
Rev. Isaiah: Of course, I encourage them. But I will not encourage anybody to do the same thing over and again; life is all about improvement. If God blesses you with money to buy a car and you buy the brand you like, if you are to buy another car, will you buy the same kind of car that you have already? That is how life is; life is all about improvement.
I will encourage everybody at the end of every year to do an appraisal of yourself based on what you have done or not done in the outgoing year and seek for a way to be better in the incoming one. Then, take positive steps towards it and commit yourself. Resolution is not commitment although it is good indicating that you have promised to change but take a commitment to your promise. That is a vow; once you commit to that positive change that you promised yourself, you can be better.
TNC: Thanks for your time, sir.
Rev. Isaiah: God bless you. May your new year be fruitful.