Well folks, it's about that time of year when we start making our New Year's resolutions. We promise ourselves that this is the year that we're going to start exercising, quit eating junk food, watch less TV, read more, eat more fruit, get in shape, run a marathon, write a book, get our pilot's license, learn German, stop eating salami at 2 a.m., and learn how to play the tuba. Or, on a deeper level, we vow to read our Bible more, pray more, and memorize at least fifty scripture verses. But we all know how these resolutions go. On January 1st we're going strong, starting off the day with a brisk run and a long devotional time. On January second we run sort of briskly and have a semi-distracted devotional time. On January 3rd we walk once around the block and don't have any time for devotions because we slept in. Why did we sleep in? Salami at 2 a.m.
So how do we make and keep New Year's resolutions? More importantly, how do we make and keep New Year's resolutions in a way that pleases God? Here's a few ways:
1. Make Them Prayerfully
If we're going to change for the glory of God, it must be by the power of God. Without God's supernatural power at work within us, all change will be superficial and pointless. We need God to help us identify the areas where change is necessary, and then give us the power to change. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God has prepared good works for us to walk in. Let's ask Him to lead us into these good works this year.
2. Check Your Motives
1 Corinthians 10:35 says, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." The ultimate goal of all New Year's resolutions should be the glory of God. When considering areas of change, ask yourself, "Why do I want to change in this area?" When I was younger I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Was it so I could serve the church by leading worship? Nope. So I could be in a kickin' rock band and be adored by hordes of screaming fans who desperately wanted my autograph. You might say my motives weren't 100% pure. If we're to please God, our New Year's resolutions must be made for His glory.
3. Involve Others
God-honoring growth happens in the context of community. Hebrews 3:13 says, "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." If we're going to grow spiritually we need others to exhort and encourage us. Get other people involved in your New Year's resolutions. Ask those close to you to point out the areas you need to grow, and then have them hold you accountable in those areas. Growth is a community project.
4. Remember The Savior
Our spiritual growth contributes absolutely nothing to our salvation. We are saved once and for all by the perfect life and sacrificial death of Christ. God won't love me any more if I memorize 100 scriptures or share the gospel with all my neighbors. I am secure in the love of God because Jesus Christ died in my place. Deserving has nothing to do with it. As you make your New Year's resolutions, remember Jesus Christ.
This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have any more thoughts on how to make New Year's resolutions for the glory of God, please share them.