I read an article entitled “Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions (and How to Follow Through on Them)” by Brad Zomick in which he identified the most common New Year’s Resolutions and then laid out practical things that you can do to help you keep those resolutions. You can click on the title of the article or the link below to read for yourself his recommendations. He is very thorough and very realistic in laying out a plan of action to attain any resolution or any goal for that matter. Check it out and see for yourself.
However, I would like to propose a foundation on which to build a successful New Year no matter what New Year’s Resolutions you feel the need to set forth. It’s found in the Bible in Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” When Jesus was asked what He believed to be the greatest commandment He responded, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) So, there it is – love God and love others. In the Old Testament and the New Testament this must be where it all begins.
Easier said than done? Yes! If you need help you can always go the plan given by Zimick in the article referenced above. After reading it I realized that anything you want to do to draw closer to God you can do following his steps. However, I would like to recommend the following steps for building the foundation you need to begin a year of loving God and loving others.
1. Set aside a time and place each day to spend time alone with God.
During that time, read the bible. (YouVersion – bible.com has some excellent reading plans if you want a systematic approach to reading the Bible.)
During that time, pray. Pray for yourself, your family, your friends and associates, and items of concern; and always pray for people you don’t get along with – people who rub you the wrong way – people who don’t like you.
2. Set aside a time and place weekly to spend time with fellow believers.
An obvious opportunity for this exists in Bible study and worship at a local church.
To supplement worship and Bible study attendance find a friend or neighbor that you can spend time with on a weekly basis to discuss life and pray together.
These two steps are NOT the fulfillment of the Christian life, but just a start. From there God will open opportunities to deepen your faith as well as opportunities to minister in His name. More importantly, as you do these things you will begin to gain the perspective to see which New Year’s Resolutions are worthy of your time and effort – those that will enable you to better advance the Kingdom of Christ.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34) Jesus said these things in the Sermon on the Mount. He was referring to the things people worry about – the things we need to physically exist in this world. However, He could just as well have said in verse 31, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?” or ‘What shall we do to improve ourselves in thee coming year?’” If we seek God first – His Kingdom and His righteousness – all these things will fall in line.
Happy New Year and Godspeed into the Future.