I read an article recently in the Florida Baptist Witness, by Hunter Leavine, regarding the self-serving intent of many New Year’s resolutions. It was a great article and really spoke to me. He wrote about how most of our resolutions are geared towards our own improvement rather than towards helping others. For example: I will eat less and lose weight. I will join the gym. I will push hard at work to get a promotion and make more money. I will save for a vacation or a boat. He wrote that, as Christians, our resolutions should impact others in some positive way, encouraging them towards a relationship with Christ or a closer walk with him.
For instance, what if I resolved to spend one Saturday a month serving those who cannot serve themselves by visiting a nursing home or helping at a food pantry? What if I resolved to make friends with our neighbors, creating opportunities to share Christ with them? What if I resolved to tithe or give money to missions so that people around the world can hear the gospel?… or to explore my spiritual gifts and begin to use them in service at my church? What if I, as a husband, resolved to become more of a spiritual leader in my family by initiating prayer and Bible reading in the home? Or what if I resolved to break that long-standing feud and forgive someone against whom I had held a grudge, thereby reflecting the love of Christ to them?
Self-directed New Year’s resolutions are not necessarily all bad. There’s no question that getting fit or working harder can have a positive impact on those around you, but, as Christians, we are called to be others-minded…service oriented…self-sacrificing. We would do well to keep that in mind as each New Year rolls around. As a matter of fact, we should keep this in mind every day of the year.
If we designed our New Year’s resolutions so that our home, workplace or campus would be impacted for Christ, how wonderful that would be! In this new year, we have the opportunity to make New Year’s resolutions that not only change ourselves, but that change others for eternity!
If you have already made your resolutions…it’s not too late to revise them! Consider adding some things that are more beneficial to others and to the kingdom of God than they are to yourself. Pray for strength and resolve to carry them through, and then trust God with the amazing results!
“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.” 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)