New Year’s Eve is, most commonly, the day we make a fervent host of resolutions before God and fellow believers. Resolutions like, “I want to read the whole Bible this year”, “I want to share the gospel with my friends”, “I want to go on a mission trip”, or “I want to grow spiritually”.
All of these sound great at the outset, but let’s be honest: many of us will set about our resolutions with great gusto in the first month or two — and then fall right off the bandwagon because we get too complacent as the days go by.
The problem is not with our innate desire to do better — that is, in fact, a good thing. It’s that we usually have these desires only on special occasions: the last day or first day of the year or even on a birthday.
It’s a curious thing: how we all have a powerful urge to make resolutions when we’re standing at the cusp of a brand new year. Why is it that we suddenly and guiltily remember we did not do the things we planned to — especially for the Lord — and therefore, start setting goals (particularly of the spiritual variety) for the new year?
I think it’s because, somewhere in the back of our minds, all of us know that we don’t hold our todays or tommorows. We know that the One who gave us life demands our all for His kingdom. We also know that we are not the author of our lives, and have seen each day, week and year through only because of God’s mercy and care. So, we feel compelled to start over and right our wrongs.
The thing is, these desires should not be ideas that occur to us once a year — rather, they should reflect in a Christian’s life every day. Don’t look to make spiritual resolutions — look to develop a godly lifestyle. I believe cultivating such a perspective is what will keep us from falling into the same old pattern of going off track, getting disheartened, and waiting for the next new year to roll around before resolving to make things right.
Don’t look to make spiritual resolutions — look to develop a godly lifestyle
So, how can we go about doing this?
Do you wake up everyday thanking God for creating you and blessing you with this day? Most of us admittedly reach out for our phones first thing in the morning, before we reach out to God. My Sunday School teacher used to encourage us to wake up and take a minute to just thank God for breath and life. I’d encourage all of us to start with this tiny step today. It will help us start the day right — by giving thanks to the One who is the reason we are alive — and remind us that we are not our own. We belong to Him. Remembering our Creator is something we can do all through the day — and it will make a world of difference to every step we take.
As humans, arrogance comes easily to us. Look at the myriad plans we make every day without appreciating that it would take just a moment for everything to be turned on its head. Is that not arrogance? We don’t own our days. As we go through them, therefore, let us do so with an attitude of humility, constantly looking to the Lord for wisdom and discernment to see His will done in our lives (James 4:13-16, Proverbs 19:21).
I remember reading the New Year prayer recorded in The Valley of Vision on January 1 last year. I didn’t even get past the third line, because I found the first three so convicting in themselves: “O Lord, length of days does not profit me, except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service, to Thy glory.” Every day is given to us by God, for God. If we are breathing today, it is because God has set us here on earth for His eternal purpose. Do we spend our days with a view to glorifying Him or for our own satisfaction? When we live our lives according to His Word, we will gain a deeper appreciation for God — and become people the world will marvel at.
Our desire for evangelism shouldn’t be something we reserve for that once-in-a-blue-while mission trip. Every day, we come across many unsaved souls. God has placed us where we are today to witness for Him. Going for mission trips are great, but there are plenty of mission fields all around us too. If we aren’t thinking about them, we should. As we seek to save souls, be sure that God will use those opportunities to change our hearts and help us grow.
We are, by nature, forgetful — especially of things we ought not to forget. Reminding ourselves of these things every day will shift the way we approach life — and put us on the path to the spiritual growth we’re looking for.
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