The idea of making a New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. However there is no difference between December 31 and January 1. Nothing magical occurs at midnight on December 31. If a Christian decides to make a New Year’s resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make?
Many people make New Year’s resolutions to quit drinking, stop smoking, lose weight. Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, and to attend church more regularly. These are awesome goals to have, however, these New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions, because there is no discipline or power in a New Year’s resolution. Resolving to start or stop doing something has no value unless you have the proper motivation for doing it. For example, What reason do you want to start read the Bible every day? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually, or is it because you have just heard that it is a good idea? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it to make yourself look good to other people?
So, what kind of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Well before you do that I think that there are some things you need to do first. I have found in my life that you can not make an uneducated decision about anything because when we do, it is for purely selfish reasons. We have to seek guidance from God.
First and foremost you should pray to the Lord for wisdom in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; James 1:5 says this…“ If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” The wisdom that God gives is not necessarily information on how to get out of trouble but rather insight on how to learn from one’s difficulties. It is not only information about how to avoid times of testing but instead a new perspective on trials. (perhaps how to rejoice in them) The wisdom of God begins with a genuine reverence for the “Fear of the Lord” and an unfailing confidence that god controls all circumstances, guiding them to His good purposes.
Second pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; Sometimes we as christians pray for God to send us direction in our lives, but forget to take his advice or even ask Him on how to do that. Philippians 4:6 tells us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” God will always answer our prayers, especially prayers that are asking Him for guidance on how to follow Him.
Third rely on God’s strength to help you; Psalm 46:1 –” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” God is our refuge even in the face of total destruction. He is not merely a temporary retreat; He is our eternal refuge and can provide strength in any circumstance.
Fourth, once you make a resolution, find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; You need to find someone in your life that is willing to hold you accountable for your actions. An active listener is essential to developing trust. James 1:19 says ” So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” A non-judgmental attitude is another essential element. Remember we can be accepting of an individual while being discerning of the situation. It must also be someone who is a caring individual. 1 John 4:21 says “And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
Fifth don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; We are not perfect. Because our bodies are wrapped with sinful flesh, we are prone to sin. Don’t be discouraged when you fail…because you most likely will. Thank God when we do, we have a loving God that reaches down and picks us up and dusts us off and gives us the grace and mercy to try again. When we do…we should rejoice in the fact that we have the chance to try again.
Last but not least, don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. When you do reach your goal, and accomplish what you have set out to accomplish, then give God the glory. Do not boast in yourself but boast in the Lord. Tell everyone about the great things God has done in your life.
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through His son Jesus Christ!