New Year’s resolutions can seem, overall, pretty silly. No one ever sticks to them, no matter what plan or goal they set for themselves. Those 100 new members at your gym the Monday after the New Year? You’re betting that they won’t be staying.
The New Year, though, really is about new beginnings. It can be a great opportunity for us to sit down and reflect on everything we have learned in the last year. As a Christian, God requires us to always be challenging ourselves. Each day He wants us to find ways that we can be better and honor Him more deeply.
Instead of creating a New Year’s resolution you know won’t make a real difference, try one of these Christian ideas instead. Those that commit will come out next December in a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
Read the Bible.
Reading the Bible more is probably on every list of top New Year’s resolution goals for Christians. While it might seem corny or basic, there is an important reason it’s always at the top of the list. Getting close to God means understanding who He is.
When you make reading the Bible a priority in your life, you become a stronger, happier Christian. You open yourself up to the amazing promises the Bible has to offer you. We gain deeper understandings of the stories we learned as children, and in turn become stronger in our beliefs. We are able to defend our faith because we understand it on a personal level.
Volunteer in the community.
Want to make a difference in your community? Volunteering is a great way to do so while glorifying God. God blessed us with gifts and talents to benefit others. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” The world has needs that you can help solve.
Volunteering can be a great family activity, as well. It will help your children learn the importance of gratitude while brining you all closer together. Volunteering can be fun, too. Plant trees in a new park or work directly serving people food. You’ll find the activity that is right for your crew.
Better mental or physical health.
When we think of honoring God, we typically only focus on our spiritual health. God, though, wants us to be better in all aspects of our life, including our mental and physical health. Our bodies are made to honor Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
When we don’t take care of our health, we are not able to service God fully. For example, if you are packing on extra pounds you have less energy to give out during the day. You aren’t able to give 100 percent of yourself to Him. These resolutions are easily broken, so lean on God for help.
Share your testimony.
God wants us to celebrate Him and His Word outside of the home. Like Jesus Christ, we should be sharing the Word with everyone we encounter. You probably have a few non-Christian friends, family members or co-workers. This year could be the year you choose to tell them why you fell in love with Jesus Christ, and ask them to attend church with you. Even if they say no, it puts a little spark in their head that gets them thinking about spirituality. Talking with you about your faith journey may be the only time they ever learn about Christ, so it’s important to make it special and offer up helpful information as you are able.
Create a tithing plan.
The scriptures are clear — Christians are called to be generous. That means using some of your financial income to honor God at your local church. It’s a reality that every church needs money to continue to function as a place of worship. If you haven’t gotten in the tithing habit yet, now is a great time to start.
Even if you can’t give a lot, start with something. For many, 10 percent of all income can be intimidating at first. Look at what you can do, and then work your way up as your faith grows and your resolution blossoms. Learn how to properly manage your budget each month so you can feel confident in your ability to donate on God’s behalf.
Lean on God for support.
Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, and to attend church more regularly. These are fantastic goals. However, these New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions. We tend to forget that there isn’t any real magic or power in creating a New Year’s resolution.
That’s why, instead, one incredibly important New Year’s resolution all Christians should make is to lean on God and trust in Him more. Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” We can become better versions of ourselves to glorify God when we ask for His help and guidance to do so. When you struggle to keep up with your new fitness goal, talk with God.
Complete random acts of kindness.
When we see the world in the news today, we are bombarded with stories of murder, disasters, heartbreak, and tragedy. It can seem like there aren’t any real beacons of hope left. This is where you can come in as a Christian.
Set a goal to do a random act of kindness one a week for the entire year. That will means you will change, at minimum, the days of 52 people. You might make a stranger smile by paying for their coffee in line, or leave your grandmother feeling young again because you took her out dancing just for fun. Whatever you do, do it because of Jesus Christ.
Get more active in your church.
The church is an important part of the Christian lifestyle. We meet other Christians, celebrate the joys of the God, and learn about the Bible’s teachings. When you want to create a deeper relationship with Christ, one of the simplest ways to do so it by becoming more active in His house of worship.
Serving your church doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. Look at your spiritual gifts and personal skill set and try to apply that to your churches’ needs. If you are a bubbly type, then being a church greeter where you can welcome in new attendees might be the right job for you. If you have a knack with money, offer your skills to help with the offering plate or other accounting needs. Talk with your church about what roles need to be filled.
Ringing in the New Year is always a fun celebration that reminds us of new beginnings. It is a chance to start over and grow from your past. This year take what you’ve learned and build on it to become the best version of yourself. Make your resolution as a Christian to always honor God.
– By Megan Bailey | beliefnet.com