I saw an article recently that gave the five most popular New Year’s Resolutions for most years. Here they are: number five, take up a new hobby; number four, make more money; number three, improve relationships; number two, quit smoking; and the number one resolution- - lose weight. I would imagine that these same items made a lot of lists this year, too.
Since it is typical for most of us to make some resolutions for the New Year I want to encourage you to also make some spiritual resolutions. Perhaps you have already made some of your own, but here are a few that I would like for all of us to consider.
Be a regular partaker of God’s Word. Some of the last words we read from the writings of Peter are “Grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18). When we regularly feed upon God’s Word it not only nourishes our souls, it also protects us from sin. As David penned, “Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
Cultivate you daily prayer life. Through my years of ministry I have learned that prayer comes naturally to some Christians, but not to all. This has always been true. On one occasion when Jesus was praying, His disciples came to Him and asked that He teach them to pray as John had taught his disciples (cf. Luke 11:1). Every Christian should develop his prayer life to the point that he learns to “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Commit to be at all worship services. Oh I know that this is not the sole criterion that determines our dedication to Christ, but it is certainly a part of it. The inspired writer admonished, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). We need to establish our priorities so that God is always first in our lives (Matthew 6:33).
Finally, live for Jesus every day! Christianity is not something that we practice once, twice or even three times a week; it is what we are all the time. Jesus taught, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). In short, we are either a Christian all the time or we are none of the time.
May we all resolve to make this the best New Year (for Christ) ever!