Hey there, everybody! So we just started the New Year and I’m sure a lot of you have a lot of resolutions, some of which you’ve probably already broken (if you’re like me). Maybe you didn’t write them down because you didn’t want to have any official resolutions in writing, so that you have nothing to deny and lie about when people ask. Maybe you didn’t make any yet but you’ve been meaning to get around to it.
We get it. Finding time for self-reflection and meaningful goal-setting is hard. (No sarcasm). But it’s so important! Here’s what the Bible says about it:
Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord! (Lamentations 3:40).
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25).
So what should our New Year’s Resolutions be as Christians?
Maybe you want to clean your house or your room more regularly, or budget your money more wisely, or spend more time with your family, or be healthier. These are all great resolutions, but what are you doing to strengthen your relationship with God, to deepen your understanding and knowledge of the Bible and His purpose?
Here are some ideas:
- Pray More
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18).
Unless we’re praying every second of every day, then we can always pray more. Think about all the down time that you have: lying in bed in the morning before you’re ready to get up, walking/driving/biking to work or class, water breaks, lunch breaks, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, washing dishes, doing laundry, lying in bed before you go to sleep. Anytime you’re not using your brain or your mouth for something else, you could be talking to God.
That being said, it’s not realistic to use up all of that time. Start with a realistic goal for yourself. If you already pray thirty minutes, make it an hour. If you already pray fifteen minutes, make it thirty. If you don’t pray at all, start with five and work your way up.
Just be sure that you’re really talking to God during this time and not getting distracted and ending up writing your grocery list in the time that should be His. Start by clearing the air by apologizing for any un-Christian things you’ve done or said or thought lately and then begin to tell him how you feel. Pray for yourself, your family, your friends, your enemies, your country, the world. There’s no limit to who you can pray for. Ask your loved ones if they have anything they would like you to help them pray about. This can help strengthen your relationship with God and with them, even if they’re not believers.
- Read Your Bible More
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
God has a plan for you. There are answers to your questions and doubts. You can access the greatest spiritual Google known to man if you just reach out to the Bible (online versions with search bars are great also). Only by immersing yourself in the direct source of God’s inspiration can you understand who He truly is and what the maximum potential for your life is.
Remember: devotions and sermons are great, but don’t depend solely on somebody else’s interpretation of the Word to feed you and give you answers. The best, most personal knowledge comes from your personal journey with God. (#enjoythejourney).
- Share the Good News
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20).
Arguably the second-most popular scripture (aside from John 3:16), this advises us to share the joy and peace that we have in our own relationship with God with others who need it. While some believe that just living your life with God as your Lord is enough to demonstrate His power to those around you (and it truly is a powerful influence, assuredly), that is not always enough. Your friends might see the happiness that you have, the slowness to anger, the ability to overcome your addictions, but how will they know what the true source is, and how to obtain these things for themselves, if you don’t share it with them?
And think about it: when you’re in love with a human, you want to go on about them. Shouldn’t our praise for God amount to so much more than this if our love for Him is so much greater?
- Show Love to Others
And above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.(Colossians 3:14).
This should be the most obvious one. Ask any Christian and they’ll probably say that they’re showing love to others. And undoubtedly, they are. But what about those who are just hard to love? The bullies, the mean girls, the ungrateful bosses, the nasty coworkers, the gossipers, the liars, the cheaters. Although it’s difficult, it’s important to love them too.
And it’s important to love those we don’t know either, those who are often grouped together and remain faceless and nameless to us: the refugees, the immigrants, the orphans, the unborn children and their young mothers, the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill. In short, the “least of these.” Include them in your prayers and lives.
- Sell Everything You Own
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 10:21).
Okay, so maybe don’t sell everything (unless the Lord is leading you to do so). But pray about being looser with your money. Maybe this means helping a family who is going through a hard time, or keeping up with your tithe more consistently, donating more to your local church, finding a charity you feel personally invested in to donate your time and money, going on a mission trip or providing the means for someone else to do so, adopt or foster a child. Whatever it is, there is something for you to do. Listen to God in how He wants you to invest your money. Remember that it all comes from Him in the first place and that He’ll bless you if you bless others.
Here is a list of Christian non-profit organizations you could consider supporting.
In the end, it’s up to you to create your own goals. Reflect on your life lately. What have you been struggling with? Where have you been doing well but could excel? You could even go so far as making a list of the pros and cons in your life and evaluate what you have control over. Consider what others have been saying to you also. If you’ve been told you’ve been very *insert negative trait here* lately—but have refused to accept it—take your time to seriously evaluate this and pray that God would help you be less of whatever that is.
Stop doing that sinful thing. Pay attention to the world you live in. Becomes more/less involved in politics. Research apologetics. Cut off those negative influences. Start writing your own blog. Cleanse your music of those that curse and praise sin and focus on the wholesome praise and worship songs for a while. Step up to teach a class in church. Share your testimony. Ask for guidance from that Elder. Become a mentor to that young girl.
Do whatever it is that you need to do to become a better person in the eyes of God.
Have any other New Years Resolutions to share? Share any of the same goals we’ve discussed here? Let us know how you’re doing with them!
Thanks for reading,