Four New Year’s resolutions for 2014

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What part of your life do you want to transform next year?

As the New Year comes around, many of us become reflective and consider the parts of our lives that we would like to transform. Often these revolve around kicking bad habits (such as eating junk food) or developing new disciplines (like going to the gym three times a week). So, what is the place of resolutions in the Christian life?
 
On a basic level, resolutions are part of everyday Christian life.

We are resolved to seek God and glorify Him each and every day:

Romans 12:2 calls us to daily transformation of our minds so we can know and live out God’s will for us. ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’
 
We are encouraged to be self disciplined in life.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul uses the imagery of an athlete in training being disciplined and striving towards the goal.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

What are your resolutions this year?

New Year could be the perfect time (though any day is great) to commit yourself to pursuing disciplines and habits that will help you run the race and win the prize. These could include:

1. Plan to get into God’s word

It could be a devotional, reading the bible in a year, listening to a sermon, dwelling on a verse. Be creative! (Colossians 3:16)

2. Pray daily 

Set time aside for prayer, be structured in praying for people and issues in the world by using prayer lists, start a prayer journal, find a place to go each day to pray. (Philippians 4:6)

3. Work on your problem areas

Pray that God will reveal the sin in your life to work on this year. Acknowledge, confess and repent of this sin. Find someone to be accountable to and meet and pray with them this year – consider a prayer triplet!

4. Develop a positive habit 

There may be other areas in your life that you may feel you should be working on. These may include eating better, sleeping better, exercising more, getting more organized etc. Remember we are physical beings as well as spiritual. We need to be working on both to be functional!

Don't rely just on willpower

The world is pretty cynical about New Year’s resolutions. According to research you are most likely to revert to old behaviours between 5-7 times before changing your ways (see here) and it takes at least 66 days to develop a new habit. It is little wonder than that most resolutions don’t see it past January. But thankfully, as Christians we have a greater power at work in us that can enable us to see things through. The Spirit of God works within us conforming us to the image of Christ. If he is for us – who can be against us? And what is better – we know there is forgiveness and grace when we do slip up.
 
So why not take the time this coming new year to consider the aspects of your life that need working on while resolving each and every day to choose to live for Christ.

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