New Year’s Resolutions. What do you think – are they helpful? Biblical? Like much of life, it depends. As you consider making your New Year’s Resolutions over the next few days, here are seven pieces of wisdom from God’s Word to help you think and plan biblically for 2018:
1. Connect what you resolve to do to what He has already done. For example:
- “I want to work out three times per week because my body is a temple of the Lord and was bought by him with a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20).
2. Don’t do it alone. Tell a trusted friend or two about your resolutions and ask them to hold you accountable and pray for you.
- “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:9-12).
3. You need the power of the Holy Spirit to follow through with these resolutions. Pray for strength and then trust that God will empower you (if your goals honor him).
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting…” (James 1:5-6; see also John 15:5).
4. Make goals that are not centered only on yourself, but on your marriage, family, and community.
- “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2:3-4).
5. Work from your salvation, not for it! Your completion or failure of these resolutions changes nothing about your standing before God, which is based on Christ’s righteousness, not yours.
- “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ…in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil 3:7-9).
6. Make growth and change your aim, not perfection! Like Martin Luther said, “This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise.”
- “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).
7. A thinner waistline, less anxiety, better organization – these are all good and worthy goals. But as you pursue and accomplish these things, keep in mind that your ultimate goal in this life is to glorify God. So think of your list of resolutions (get healthy, organized, etc) as a list of ways to honor Christ in the coming year.
- “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31).
If in any of these things you need help from us at BCTM, we’d be glad to walk alongside you. May the Lord breathe life into our plans of clay in 2018!