Making a New Year’s resolution is a practice dating back to ancient times. There’s no magic event that happens the night of December 31st or the day of January 1st, but making a New Year’s resolution gives us the refreshing feeling of a new start with a clean slate. The Bible doesn’t go one way or another regarding New Year’s resolutions, so if a Christian decides to make a New Year’s Resolution, how should they do it?
The usual New Year’s resolutions revolve around dropping unhealthy or toxic behavior. People resolve to stop smoking, spend more time with their family, or eat better and exercise regularly. These are all valid goals; however, 1 Timothy 4:8 tells us, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Most Christians make a resolution around a physical thing while neglecting their spirituality.
Some great resolutions a Christian might set for themselves would be to pray more, read their Bible more, or go to church more often. As with the ones above, these are valid goals to have. However, spiritual resolutions are failing for the same reasons non-spiritual ones are; lack of discipline and desire to actually maintain the resolution. Without the proper motivation and discipline required, most New Year’s resolutions will fall flat. For example, let’s ask why we would resolve to go to church more often. Is it because we desire to fulfill God’s command of fellowship with our fellow Christians, or is it because we’ve heard that it’s just a good thing to do?
Philippians 4:13 and John 15: 5 both instruct us that when we put our faith in God, all things can be accomplished. If Christians make God the center of their New Year’s resolution, then they have a higher chance of success. If your resolution is God-honoring, and He wills it for success as part of His plan, then you will succeed in your resolution through your faith. Ask yourself why you have the spiritual resolutions you do and the real reasoning behind them.
What sort of New Year’s resolutions should a Christian make? Start by praying to God for wisdom regarding what your goals should be for the new year, as well as the will and strength of spirit to see those goals through. Next, seek out an accountability partner to help you stay on track with your goals this year. Then, be careful not to become discouraged by failure; we’re not perfect, but God is, and relying on Him can give us the strength to endure. Lastly, do not become prideful. Instead, give glory to God when you triumph in your goals.
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5-6