Early 20th century New Year’s resolution postcards (Wikipedia )
A New Year’s Resolution is a commitment a person makes, usually after reflecting on the occurrences of the outgoing year, and focusing on how they can do things differently in the incoming year. Commitments are made to achieve goals, to abandon unhealthy habits such as overeating and smoking, and to adopt healthy habits. Self-improvement is usually the focus of New Year’s Resolutions. Some examples are, to work on relationships and social skills, to work on self-discipline and being kind to others, to eat healthier, to exercise more, to complete educational goals, and one of the more popular goals, is to get out of debt. Unfortunately, according to statistics, only 12% of those who embark upon resolutions, accomplish their goals.
Do Christians make New Year’s Resolutions? Although I don’t ascribe to it, I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with it. However, as Christians, goals should also be set, that will ultimately cause us to become better followers of Christ. Having said that, we should not wait until New Years to set these goals. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Holiness is not a religion. Living holy is a way of life, all day, every day, 365 days of each year! (366 days in leap year) What can we do to be more like Jesus? How can we abound in the fruit of the Spirit? How can we enhance our witness? What steps do we need to take, to transform our minds? What can we as Christians do, to enhance our relationships with the Lord in 2012 and beyond? Below is a list of things Christians, as well as anyone else can and should do at all times, to draw nigh unto the Lord, so that He will draw nigh unto us!
1. No matter what you set out to do in life, always put Jesus Christ first! What is the great commandment? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
2. Do you want to improve your relationships with others? “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:39) “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:19)
3. Do you want to get out of debt? “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8) “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10) Some Christians believe they can’t afford to pay tithes and offerings. Well, the truth of the matter is, you can’t afford not to pay tithes and offerings. Also, we are to give God His 10% first. The Lord will supply all of your needs, according to His riches in glory!
4. Do you want to get closer to the Lord? Prayer is one of the keys. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) Relationships start with communication. The more you communicate with the Lord, the stronger your relationship will become, and the more power you will have with God! Some prayer, some power. Much prayer, much power. No prayer, no power!
5. In order to get closer to the Lord, to walk in His power and strength, and to hear a word from Him, we must fast. “And when He was come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, why could we not cast him out? And He said unto them, this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:28-29)
6. Read and study the Bible. Meditate on the WORD! “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” When we read and meditate on God’s word, it becomes a part of us! When the tempter comes, God’s word will be brought back to our remembrance. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”(II Timothy 2:15)
7. Have faith and trust in the Lord. Take Him at His word. Remember, no matter what comes your way, God says, it is working for your good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
8. If you fall short of the glory of God, confess your sin. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:19) Don’t wallow in your sins, confess them, that ye might be forgiven!
May God richly bless and keep us all, in 2012 and beyond! We are living Epistles, read among men. Let us walk the walk, and talk the talk of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that others will want to follow us to the foot of the Cross! Please feel free to add to the list!
Tweaked for 2012!