New Year’s Resolutions for 2016: Making changes to honor God and grow spiritually
When the end of December rolls around every year I often find myself reflecting on the past year and then focusing on the New Year and what I hope to accomplish. I’m one of those silly people who set resolutions and often times give them up a month later, but I like the idea of assessing myself and seeking improvement, even if I fail. Often times my resolutions focus on some physical, financial, or academic goal. However, I usually don’t ever take the time to evaluate my spiritual life and what areas need improvement there. For this blog post I’m going to attempt to create a pseudo “The Christian’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions.”
Pray – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) I wanted to start with a resolution that would apply to everyone. There is no one who prays enough, and in the New Year I would challenge us all to earnestly pray more. It is our direct line to God and, as is the case with any relationship, communication is key to growth, forgiveness, and guidance.
Forgive – “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) Just as the New Year is a time for us to start afresh, it is also the perfect time to let go of past grudges and embrace the power that grace and mercy holds. God calls us to show His love to everyone with no exceptions, and one of the greatest acts of love is forgiveness.
Share your Faith – “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14) We are called to live our lives missionally. This does not mean you have to be on the next flight to a remote village in Africa where they have never heard of Jesus, but it does have implications on how we live our lives every day. God wants you just as you are, and you sharing your faith is just an extension of His love. Who in your life needs to hear about God’s love?
Prioritize – “’No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’” (Matthew 6:24) What in your life are you devoting more time to than your relationship with God? Your career, your hobbies, your earthly relationships? Personally, as a college senior, I often times find myself worrying and “worshiping” academics and searching for a job over time spent with the Lord. If God is not number one in your life, you need to make adjustments.
There are many small things we can do to better our relationships with God, but sometimes we put off making changes because we always think we will have time in the future to do better. We must remember that we do not serve a complacent God. As we look to the New Year I challenge all of us to assess our relationships with God and choose at least one area where we want to improve. Make a change and see how God uses your efforts to change your life and spread His love.
In Christ’s Love,
All verses taken from the English Standard Version Bible Copyright 2007