As the New Year approaches, as Christians we should become reflective and consider transforming parts of our lives that need healing & repair, self-discipline, and resolve. Many usually make their resolutions around kicking bad habits like not eating so much junk food or developing new disciplines like losing a certain amount of weight. What is the place of New Year's resolutions in our Christian life? As Christians, resolutions should be a part of our everyday lives anyway.
We are resolved to seek God and glorify Him each and every day: Romans 12:2 calls us to daily transformation of our minds so we can know and live out God’s will for us.
We are encouraged to be self disciplined in life. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul uses a vision of an athlete in training being disciplined and striving towards the goal. The New Year could be the perfect time although any day is great to commit yourself to pursuing disciplines and habits that will help you run the race and win the prize.
Take the time this coming new year to consider the aspects of your life that need working on while resolving each and every day to choose to live for Christ.
Here are some resolutions we all should be striving for. There are many more other than these but let's start here:
1. Plan to get into God’s word - a devotional, reading the bible in a year, listening to a sermon, dwelling on a verse, etc. Be creative! Read Colossians 3:16. Getting into the habit of reading the Word is also a common New Year's resolution for many Christians. There are plenty of Bible reading plans out there that guide you through reading your Bible in a year. It just takes discipline to open up the book every day. This doesn't mean you have to read your Bible in a whole year but it will help guide you and keep you on track to read daily. Just open up His Word and read it. 2 Timothy 3:16 – 1 Peter 3:15
2. Pray daily- Set time aside for prayer, be structured in praying for people and issues in the world by using prayer lists, start a prayer journal, find a place to go each day to pray. Don't worry about what to talk to Him about, just talk. You'll be amazed by the results He'll reveal to you. Philippians 4:6 - 1 Peter 4:7 – John 15:7 -1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Romans 8:26 – Matthew 6:6; 18:19-20; 21:22; 26:41 – Luke 11:9; 18:1 – 1 Timothy 2:1-5 – Jeremiah 33:3 – James 5:16 – Ephesians 6:18 – Psalm 34:17 – Colossians 4:2
3. Work on your problem areas - Pray that God will reveal the sin in your life to work on this year. Acknowledge, confess and repent of this sin. 1 John 1:9; 5:3 – 2 Peter 1:2-4; 3:9
4. Develop a positive habit & work on self-control – There are probably other areas in your life that you should be working on. These may include eating better, sleeping better, exercising more, getting more organized, etc. Don't just think about the physical things you need to work on, but the spiritual too. We are not only physical beings but spiritual as well. To be functional we need to work on both. Galatians 5:22-23 – 2 Timothy 1:7 – Proverbs 25:28 – Romans 12:1-3
5. Don't rely just on willpower - According to research you are most likely to revert to old behaviors between 5-7 times before changing your ways (click here) and it takes at least 66 days to develop a new habit. No wonder most resolutions don’t see it past January. Thankfully, as Christians we have a greater power at work in us that can enable us to see things through. The Spirit of God works within us conforming us to the image of Christ. If He is for us – who can be against us? And what is better – we know there is forgiveness and grace when we do slip up. Romans 8:31-39 – Hebrews 7:25 – Matthew 6:33 – 2 Timothy 1:7
6. Share Christ with others even though the devil will attack you – Mark 16:15-16 “He (Jesus) said to them (the 11 apostles after He was risen), “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” I don't want to be a decorative stone on the façade of Christ’s Church, but a pillar holding it up. Be the kind of Christian that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan has a panic attack. The Devil himself hates when we speak out and share what Christ has done our lives. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that the Devil is on the prowl, just looking for someone to devour. The Bible is full of accounts of people that not only talked the talk but walked the walk; Daniel, Esther, Paul, Stephen and so many more. All of these people experienced hardships and even death because of what they believe. God has called us who love him, to go into all the world and spread the good news of Christ. If we do that, the Devil will attack, but with the strength God gives us, we can go in to the world without caution or thought of consequences. Think about going on a mission trip. Not all mission trips are to exotic places, but almost all mission trips will change you forever. Between the spiritual preparation before you leave on your trip to the work you will do on the trip itself, God works through you and for you as you see people eager to hear about Christ and as you hear their appreciation for the things you are doing for Him.
7. Good works – God calls us throughout the Bible to do good works. Helping others is a part of a Christian walk. There are so many people who just need a bit of assistance, and helping others is a great way to set a Christian example. Matthew 5:16 - James 2:14-18, 26; 4:17 - Ephesians 2:8-10 - Hebrews 13:16 - 1 Timothy 6:17-19 – 2 Timothy 3:17 – Galatians 6:9 - Colossians 3:23-24 - Proverbs 3:27-28
8. Get to know your mom and dad better – For teens: One of the most difficult relationship in a Christian teen's life is with their parents. You're at the beginning of entering adulthood and should be making more and more decisions on your own, but you will always be your parents' child. For everyone: Many times your parents have different viewpoints than you which can lead to a lot of heartache. Yet, God dictates that we honor our parents, so take some time to get to know your mom and dad a little better. Do things with them. Share bits of your life with them. Even a small amount of quality time with your parents will go a long way in helping your relationship. Ephesians 6:1-4 – 1 Peter 4:8 – Romans 12:18