Happy New Year!

It’s so great to be back on schedule after a holiday break. Somehow, when the new year starts, I feel a sense of renewal and motivation. Do you?

I have been thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Given the way the world embraces this opportunity to make new commitments, which often fall to the wayside by February, I have been wondering if Jesus would want us to make these kind of resolutions.

After mulling this over for a little while, I have decided that, yes, given the right approach, Jesus would want us to think about New Year’s resolutions. He is a God who wants us to be renewed and transformed.

Consider the book of Romans, chapter 12…

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)

Romans also mentions our adoption to Christ. We are adopted by Him, through the cross, so that we may have forgiveness and live a life in Him. In response to Jesus taking our place, we want to live a life pleasing to Him, not that we can ever be perfect. That is what the cross is for. As Christians, we strive to live like Christ, and reflecting can help us to know where we want to change.

This year, my resolution is to be more decisive. I can be painfully indecisive, probably because of a fear of failing at the task. I don’t think God wants me to live like this. I should live with a joyful sense of accomplishment in the Lord, knowing that my success and failure will not be wasted in the end. So, I have repented for my fearful attitude, and prayed for a renewed sense of confidence in Jesus as I move forward on tasks.

If you have made a resolution, or if you have avoided the whole tradition, consider the following questions about making any kind of promise to others or ourselves…

  1. Does your resolution fall in line with the teaching in the Bible?

    Consider my resolution. I want to be more decisive, and to put off fear that hinders progress. Does this desire match what Christ would have for me?

    In Romans, it says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'”(Romans 8:15 ESV)

    I should not be letting fear dictate my actions. I can make decisions through reading Scripture, praying, and moving forward as a daughter of the King. My resolution seems to be in line with all God would have for me.

  2. Does your resolution allow you to live with the joy of forgiveness?

    It is so easy to beat ourselves up about mistakes. I can spend too much time focusing on what I did wrong, or how I failed. If making a New Year’s resolution is all about pointing a finger at your own wrong-doing, then it may not be a healthy thing. I’ll give you an example.

    If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, and your focus is on how bad you feel about eating too many cookies during the holidays (like me) then your resolution may not serve you well. This guilt-based approach is not where Christ wants us to live. We are freed from our past decisions. Accept Christ’s forgiveness and move forward as a new creation. Make your resolution in such a way that you find freedom through Christ. My mindset about losing weight should emphasize the joy in the body Christ has blessed me with, and how I want to care for it so I can serve Christ.

  3. Does your resolution help you be a more productive member of Christ’s body, the church?

    We live in a culture where individuality and self-improvement for the sake of attaining “self-actualization” is celebrated. However, as Christians, our focus is not on ourselves, but on Christ, and His body, the church. Will your resolution allow you to serve the church better? It’s okay to make time to care for yourself, but never at the detriment of your service to Christ’s body.

    Sometimes stepping down from overcommitments at church can be good for the body. If we take on too much responsibility, we aren’t allowing others to be used.

    How is your resolution allowing you to serve the church?

Let’s continue to reflect and pray about what God would have us do in our lives. May our decisions and resolution be in response to Jesus and His leading in our lives.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Please be with us and help us to see what you see. Where should we make changes? How can we spend our time better? Help us to see areas in our lives where we need more of you, and less of ourselves. Free us from the guilt of past decisions, because our sin already died on the cross with you. Thank you for adopting us as daughters! We are grateful, and want to live a life in response to this great gift of mercy.

Amen

 

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