The time for resolutions is here. If you are among those who like to refocus with the dawning of a new year, here are some ideas.
Assess the Past Year. Self-examination is important and helpful. “Examine yourselves” is the admonition of 2 Corinthians 13:5. In the spirit of that passage, set aside some time to sit down in a quiet place and contemplate your life. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What temptations seem the hardest to fight? Aside from work obligations, how do you spend most of your time? How often do you pray? What are your Bible study habits? How is your Bible class and worship attendance? Are you making time to serve others? Even the most conscientious Christian can find room for improvement.
Develop a Plan. Select the areas that you want to address and create a concrete plan of action. For example, instead of the generic, “I want to do better in my Bible class attendance,” opt for the specific, “Barring matters beyond my control, I will attend every Sunday and Wednesday Bible class in 2018.” To accomplish that goal, create a plan. It might look like this: (1) Go to sleep earlier on Saturday night. (2) Set an alarm early enough on Sunday morning to allow plenty of time to get ready. (3) Regardless of how tired I am on Wednesday evenings, I will go to Bible study. (4) I will study the lessons outside of class so that the class itself will be more meaningful.
Emphasize the Spiritual. There are usually a few improvements that we want to make each year that we would characterize as more physical than spiritual. But some of those matters have a spiritual component, too. Look for it. For example, if you want to get a better handle on your physical health, there are deeper reasons to do that than just being able to fit into your clothes again. Paul asked this rhetorical question, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Your body really belongs to God. We must show ourselves to be good stewards of the Spirit’s temple.
There is no good reason to stay where we are in our current level of Christian maturity. We should always be working toward improvement. If we aren’t, we could find ourselves in a state of apostasy (Heb. 6:1-8). God is blessing us with the opportunity to improve, and he will provide the help if we will make the choice (Phil. 2:12-13).
Eddie Parrish (edited)