Welcome to the first week of 2022, the week when many of us make New Year’s resolutions. Next week will be the week when many of us also give up on those resolutions.

I don’t make resolutions; I set goals. Resolutions have a note of finality to them—”I resolve (i.e., solemnly swear) to …” Fail one time and your resolution is shot, so you might as well go back to being the person you were in 2021. A goal, however, is something you aim toward. Miss a day? Not a problem, just pick up where you left off.

For example, a common resolution is to read more. (Depending of which set of statistics you subscribe to, most people read four books a year—or portions of four books.) Let’s say you set a goal to read 12 books in 2022—way above the number your neighbor reads. Twelve months from now you look back and realize you only tackled 10 books. Did you fail? No. Twelve may have been your goal, but you still read more books than you did the previous year. That should be applauded.

On a personal note, my yearly goal is to read 52 books, essentially one book a week. Some years I exceed that, and others fall short. A good friend posted on Facebook last week that she had read 64 books. Those in the “I do good to read four books a year” camp may think that is an unattainable goal, but I find that I always have time for what I want to do. It’s important to me and I carve out time for reading.

Setting a reading goal is not a competition. Set a goal that works for you. The point is simply to read. To learn something you didn’t know. Read and learn something new. But …

Reading by itself won’t make you a better person. You may gain some knowledge, but you won’t be any wiser. You need a walk with God for that. The oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job, shows us the path to wisdom: “The fear of the Lord —that is wisdom” (Job 28:28). Proverbs repeat this same truth:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).

Read a few books and you can impress you wife as you give the correct responses watching Jeopardy, but that kind of knowledge won’t make you a better person. And isn’t the desire to be a better person the reason behind all our resolutions and goals?

A better you comes with wisdom—and wisdom comes as you fear the Lord, humbling walking with Him and depending on Him. One thing I can say confidently is that I don’t know all the answers and I’m often at a loss on the best decision to make. I absolutely must lean on God.

Seek to know God on a deeper level in 2022. If you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution, resolve to walk with God. Seek His face. Trust Him. And wisdom will follow.

Happy new year.

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