|Question: “What sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian make?”
Answer: The practice of making a New Year’s Resolution goes back over 3000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a New Year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. In reality, there is no difference between December 31st and January 1st. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31st. The Bible does not speak for or against the concept of a New Year’s Resolution. However, if a Christian determines to make a New Year’s Resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make?
Common New Year’s Resolutions are: to quit smoking, to quit drinking, to manage money better, and spend more time with family. By far the most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, in conjunction with exercising more and eating healthier. These are all good goals to set. However, 1 Timothy 4:8 instructs us to keep exercise in perspective: “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.” The vast majority of New Year’s Resolutions, even among Christians, are in relation to physical things. This should not be.
Many Christians make New Year’s Resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, to attend church more regularly, etc., etc. These are fantastic goals! However, these New Year’s Resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions. Why? Because there is no power in a New Year’s Resolution. Resolving to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation for stopping or starting that activity. For example, why do you want to read the Bible every day? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually or is it because you have just heard that it is a good thing to do? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honor yourself?
Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is the center of your New Year’s Resolution, it has chance for success – depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. If a resolution is not God honoring and/or is not in agreement in God’s Word – we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution.
So, what sort of New Year’s Resolution should a Christian make? I cannot answer that question for you. My advice to you is this: (1) Pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; (2) Pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) Rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) Find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) Don’t become discouraged with occasional failures, instead allow them to motivate you further; (6) Don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5-6, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”