As the holiday season draws to a close, millions of people worldwide begin to ponder their upcoming New Year’s resolutions. These commitments typically focus on self-improvement, such as losing weight, living healthier, or saving money. For Christians, however, New Year's resolutions can take on a deeper, more spiritual dimension. The more thought you put into yours, the more likely you are to stick with them (and benefit from them).
Here’s how you can start your new year off right with spiritual goals that can help you build a stronger relationship with God, your church, and your faith.
The Motives Behind Typical New Year Resolutions
The majority of New Year's resolutions tend to center around personal development or wellness. That is, most of them are focused on the health and happiness of us as individuals — and too often, they can be driven by social pressures rather than authentic personal intention. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the motives behind them are purely selfish or that they don’t benefit others or society as a whole. In fact, setting personal goals can be driven by the genuine desire to be a better person, not just a more attractive or successful person.
The Need to Set Spiritual New Year Resolutions, Not Just Earthly Ones
While these kinds of resolutions can certainly be worthwhile in many regards, they often lack a spiritual component. For Christians and people of other faiths, this means two things: these types of goals don’t address our whole person or identity, and they certainly don’t address our relationship with God, with faith, or with our brothers and sisters in faith.
In contrast, creating Christian New Year's resolutions allows us to base our intentions on our relationship with God and the desire to grow spiritually. These kinds of goals can help us to live our lives in closer alignment with Biblical teachings. That’s why it’s important to also establish faith-based resolutions.
But how should we decide on our spiritual goals? Where do we start?
Some Ways to Approach Your Spiritual Resolutions
Here are some sound ways to get brainstorming on the spiritual resolutions that make the most sense for you this year.
Reflect and Examine
First, it’s important to remember that in setting our faith-based goals, the ultimate goal should be God's glory, not our own. This means that we should be sure we’re setting aside our personal ego — and any potential recognition from others — as we define our aspirations.
Before making a resolution, take time to reflect on your spiritual journey and how you can push yourself to grow in ways that honor Christ’s teachings. Start by asking yourself basic questions about your relationship with God and His most essential laws, such as the Ten Commandments. Alternatively, consider approaching your New Year’s resolutions from the standpoint of growing in key faith-based disciplines, such as prayer, reading the Bible, renouncing sin, or trusting in God.
Pray for Guidance
If your goal is to have a stronger relationship with another person, you might consider asking that person what you can do to accomplish this. Similarly, it stands to reason that prayer, or a conversation with God, should be the cornerstone of your resolution-making process. Ask God for guidance and wisdom in choosing a resolution that will bring you closer to Him.
Some Ideas for Resolutions
Here are some more concrete ideas to help inspire your choices:
Serve and defend others. Volunteer at your church or a local charity. Consider donating to a vital humanitarian organization, such as those providing aid to civilians in war-torn countries.
Strengthen relationships. Work on forgiving those who have wronged you and seek reconciliation.
Share your faith. Make an effort to share the Gospel with friends or family who don't know Christ. Put thought into this and ensure that you do it in ways that will be helpful, uplifting, or effective in some way.
Play to your strengths to work on your weaknesses. Think about an aspect of faith that you struggle with and resolve to take steps to improve in that area. However, you should also remember to be kind to yourself, and think of creative ways to apply your strengths in ways that can serve your goals.
Ways to Get Support and Accountability
We all know that we’re more likely to succeed in our goals if we share them with someone who will check in on us — and this is all the more important when we’re struggling, as fellow Christians in your life may be able to give you valuable insights. You can ensure both accountability to and support with your goals by doing the following:
Find a Spiritual Mentor
A spiritual mentor can provide wisdom, guidance, and accountability. This might be a pastor, church elder or deacon, Bible study leader, or anyone who knows you well and has plenty of experience in matters of faith.
Join a Small Group
Small prayer and Bible study groups are excellent platforms for sharing your goals and finding empathy and encouragement. You’ll also have the opportunity to support others, which can strengthen your bonds with both your faith and your faith community.
There are numerous apps and online resources designed to help Christians stay accountable in their spiritual journey. Consider using technology like videoconferencing for prayer or Bible study group meetings, or setting reminders on your phone or mobile device to help you take specific actions toward your goals.
Involve Your Family
Your family can be your biggest cheerleaders. Share your resolutions with them and ask for their support and prayers. The best part? If you all support each other, you’ll enjoy not just a stronger bond with God, but stronger family bonds as well.
Be Active in Your Church
Attend church services regularly and consider joining specific church groups, helping out with projects and fundraisers, or volunteering to assist with major services and events, such as those related to Christmas or Easter. You may find that small moments in interactions with your faith community can be enormously powerful in helping you to reach your spiritual goals in the coming year. Happy New Year!
Start the New Year Off Right With Word of Life Church
Word of Life Church is dedicated to making the world a better place by spreading the Word and Love of God. Our mission is to create an authentic, welcoming worship community, and to empower people to live a life of faith and service in the name of Jesus — including setting spiritual goals and fostering strong relationships with God.
Our church offerings include a variety of worship experiences, LifeGroups, youth programs, and service initiatives for individuals of all ages, all of them designed to offer community and opportunities to engage with God. However, we can’t do God’s work without you. Please consider supporting us by donating today!