by Dn Ivan Lim
It is said that the practice of making New Year resolution dated to ancient time. Today, modern man, likewise also do it. There is nothing magical about the date. Rather, it is our wish to start anew for the coming year. There is a Chinese saying that states that the year’s planning start with the spring season, which is the start of the planting of crops.
Types of resolution
A United State consumer survey in 2015 showed that most of the New Year resolutions were related to physical things : 37% to stay fit or exercise more, 32% to lose weight, 28% to enjoy life more, 25% to save more money or spend less and 19% to spend more time with family and friends. For Christians, the bible exhorts us to focus more on the spiritual aspect (1 Tim 4:8). Use the life of the apostle Paul as an example. He made it his life’s resolution to know Christ more and to live his life by faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross (Phil 3:8-9).
Brethren, the Bible did not forbid us to make New Year resolutions. But we have to examine the motive for it. Is it for vanity (self) or God honoring? Some examples of spiritual resolutions are: spending more time to read the bible, meditate and internalize the teaching of it, consistent personal prayer time and spending time with other Christians etc.
Duration of resolution
We all know that old habits die hard. This saying is supported by another consumer survey that showed that only 75% kept the resolution after one month, 46% after 6 months and a miserable 8% kept them to the end of the year! There are numerous reasons for this: setting unrealistic goals, too many goals, early failures etc. For Christians, if you want success, make God the center of your resolution! Come clean before Him by confessing your sins and seek His help to live right. Turn to Jesus and invite Him into your life (Phil 4:13). The Bible promise success in all your endeavors (John 15:5).
3 Practical steps
1. Start by prayer and asking Jesus to show you what are the areas in your life that need changing. This may be a bad habit to kick or a good habit to develop.
2. Rely on God for wisdom and strength. Keep a diary and record all the incremental steps that you have accomplished. Do not be too ambitious.
3. Find an accountability partner. Tell someone close to you what you are doing. This will help you stay focus as you have to report your progress along the way. Your partner will also remind and encourage you. Expect small failures along the way.
Finally, at the end of the year, remember to give God the glory for all His help. My God help us to grow in grace and wisdom.