27 Dec “New Year, New Beginnings” by Lindsey Dowiot
2016 has come and gone. A lot has happened this past year, and I’m sure many, like myself, are looking toward this new year as a chance to start fresh. Some common New Years’ Resolutions of course are, losing weight, eating healthier, getting organized, or running a race. I’m not really into making resolutions, but instead, I try to set broad goals for myself. In the past I’ve set goals of reading through the Bible in one year, becoming more “green” in the household, and trying to become more outgoing.
The Bible doesn’t have anything specific to say about making New Years’ Resolutions, but as Christ followers, we should always have the goal of bettering ourselves for His glory. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-15) He is saying that we should always be pressing on to become new creations, focusing on the heavenly goal that lies ahead.
Making a New Years’ Resolution is not a bad thing. But, we should be sure that in doing so, we have the goal of becoming the people Christ is calling us to be. Take advantage of this time of year to become closer to God. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Encounter the Lord each day: This may seem basic, but it’s easy to overlook. Start a new devotional (the Bible App has great ones), and make sure to set aside time to really talk to God. Our encounters with Him will open our eyes and ears to Christ in our midst everyday.
Practice gratitude: Everyday, express your thankfulness to God, as well as to others in your life.
Nurture friendships: Friends are gifts from God. They give us a greater appreciation of God’s love for us, and if chosen wisely, will give us Godly advice. True friendships need time and love.
Make a difference in your church community: Use your gifts and talents to help your church. This is a great way to get connected with others while reaching out to your community.
Get healthy: By making sure our physical bodies are healthy, we are better able to give of ourselves for the kingdom of God.
Turn to God: Make God a priority in your decision making. Ask Him for guidance, strength, and perseverance in achieving the goals you set this year. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”
Whatever our goals are for ourselves in 2017, let us be guided by the Holy Spirit. We can have peace knowing that “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)