We’re going to lose weight, exercise more, get out of debt, stick to a budget, stop smoking, save for the future, spend more time with family, and so many other great things this year. We make resolutions because we want to bring change into our lives. We want to improve ourselves and our quality of life. And the top resolutions, for most people, tend to revolve around the same three basics: wealth, health, and family.
But what would a set of New Year’s resolutions look like for you and our church? Though we could add many more to this list, here are six to consider. Perhaps you could devote two months to each of these through the coming year?
1. Pray more. “And they devoted themselves to prayer…” How devoted to prayer are you right now? Is it a once a week, once a day, twice a day kind of pattern, or are you constantly going to God in prayer about everything?
2. Confront patterns of sin. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” This year, make a conscious effort to eliminate the things that are holding you down, and get rid of the sin in your life.
3. Invest in my spiritual gift or gifts. “Do not neglect your gift…, be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” The church is a body, and we all need each other to use the gifts that they have been given. Are you?
4. Love people. “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Everything we do, say, and think should be marked by love. How’s you love?
5. Quit comparing myself to other Christians, other leaders, and other churches. “Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You, follow me.”” Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to God. And then you will realize that there is much room for improvement no matter who you are.
6. Get more intentional about evangelism. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” As followers of Christ, one of our biggest responsibilities, is to be fishers of men, to complete the Great Commission. Are you out sharing your faith? If not, get started this year.
Now it’s not part of the list, but I think we can accomplish any New Year’s resolution simply by remaining focused. And when it comes to this list of six, we need to stay focused on the vision. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”