“When self-improvement is our motivation, New Year’s resolutions become less about developing long-term disciplines and more about catering to whims that shift like the wind. Instead of trying to fulfill New Year’s resolutions for the sake of self-improvement, our motivation to be disciplined should come from recognizing we’re God’s image-bearers.”
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing about New Year’s when we’ve yet to finish celebrating the joyous Christmas season.
Don’t misunderstand; I’m a regular “Buddy the Elf” who loves Christmas and everything about it.
But I’m also a planner. Around this time of year, I start looking ahead to the next year to determine my goals and how to achieve them.
From Fickle New Year’s Resolutions to Disciplined Image Bearers
The problem with typical New Year’s resolutions is that we often set impossible standards and, perhaps, think too highly of ourselves and what we can accomplish.
The standard New Year’s resolution tends to be focused merely on improving ourselves. But self-improvement is a feeble motivation—one that can be quickly redefined.
When self-improvement is our motivation, New Year’s resolutions become less about developing long-term disciplines and more about catering to whims that shift like the wind.
Instead of trying to fulfill New Year’s resolutions for the sake of self-improvement, our motivation to be disciplined should come from recognizing we’re God’s image-bearers.
We don’t simply aim to make ourselves better; we strive to develop disciplines that will help us glorify God, steward what He’s given us, and grow in Christlikeness.
Prioritizing for Spiritual Formation
When we shift our thinking from self-focused New Year’s resolutions to God-centered disciplines, our priorities shift as well.
Striving for spiritual growth requires we determine how to best use our limited amount of time. That often means the resolutions we may have previously valued lose significance compared to other spiritually-formative disciplines.
Most believers would agree that spending time in Scripture and prayer is vital to spiritual well-being. These disciplines should always be part of a Christian’s New Year’s goals.
But this year, consider how you might spend your time on other disciplines, even if it means sacrificing your time spent on the traditional laundry list of resolutions.
In addition to reading the Bible and praying, memorizing Scripture helps us set our minds on the things of God (1 Chronicles 22:19; Colossians 3:2).
Pastor Andy Davis says, “Memorization is a form of deep meditation on the text, and it drives Scripture deeper into our hearts.”
Evangelism is another vital discipline—one that’s often neglected. Though some Christians are gifted evangelists, all believers are called to share the gospel.
Ask the Lord to give you boldness to share His truth with those around you. Resolve to share the gospel more often this year.