According to Statistic Brain, the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 were: (1) lose weight, (2) get organized, (3) spend less and save more, (4) enjoy life to the fullest, (5) stay fit and healthy, (6) learn something exciting, (7) quit smoking, (8) help others in their dreams, (9) fall in love, and (10) spend more time with family.
Sadly, “pray,” “develop a closer relationship with God” and “read my Bible more” did not make the top 10 list last year.
We need to renew our minds and focus on the spiritual aspects of our lives. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2).
So, how can we make the renewing start to happen? We can start by changing the content of our New Year’s Resolutions to encourage transformation.
Here is a list of 10 spiritual resolutions that will change your life:
1. Pray every day to hear God’s will for my life and be obedient to it. “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” (Deut 4:7)
2. Read the Bible every day to understand God’s character and his ways. “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12).
3. Encourage others to start or continue their journey of faith. “Finally brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11).
4. Invite at least one person from my family or community to my church each week. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘today”, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb 3:13).
5. Join a local year round Bible study. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11).
6. Commit to a community outreach for one season. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing” (Deut 10:18).
7. Volunteer at my church to teach Sunday School or provide nursery care. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
8. Open my home to times of fellowship and discipleship. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb 13:2)
9. Commit to identifying the needs vs. wants in my budget and increasing my charitable giving. “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow? They do not labor or spin” (Matt 6:28).
10. Keep a journal to daily or weekly document the progress of my resolutions. “This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips” (Ex 13:9a).
These spiritual resolutions will only be transforming if you make them a lifetime commitment.
My friends, I encourage you, no matter whether you make or do not make any resolutions for the coming year, think about areas of your life in which renewing needs to take place. Is it in your marriage? Is it in your bank account? Is it in your attitude? Or is it in your thoughts which no one hears? Wherever it is, know that God will help you and there is no need for you to struggle. He will be beside you, walking with you, and carrying you if need be.
“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).