Written By Crystal Tang, Singapore
Coming up with New Year resolutions at the start of the year is a common practice that dates back to the ancient Babylonians some 3,000 years ago. Although the Bible does not mention what we should do at the start of each year, there is nothing unbiblical in setting new goals to work towards improving the quality of our life, character, health, etc. A quick search on “top new year resolutions” would bring about typical results like “stay healthy”, “be organized”, “save more money”, and “fall in love.”
These are laudable resolutions to set the tone right for a fresh year. Nonetheless, we have been reminded in 1 Timothy 4:8 that “physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Should a new year’s resolution list for Christians be any different then?
Recent statistical studies have shown that only eight per cent of the people who made New Year’s resolutions were eventually successful in achieving their resolutions. Are we part of the former or are we contributing to the other 92 per cent? Year after year, the success rates for Christians who set new goals to pray more, attend church more regularly, and read the Bible appears to be as bleak as the physical and non-spiritual goals that we set for ourselves.
Perhaps, let us pause for a moment to question where the motivation behind setting that new goal or kicking a bad habit lies. Take for instance saving money. Do we do it out of the intention to save so that we can spend on lavish goods or because we want to give back to God? Do we want to increase our time spent with God just because we have been told to do so by our leaders, or because we truly want to build this meaningful and eternal relationship with our Father in heaven? What exactly is our motivation? Is Jesus our motivation to strive for the better?
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
As we begin 2015, let us have an eternal mindset towards goal-setting. Whatever our “success rates”, it would be wonderful to know that we have grown in our relationship with the Lord and have made Him smile in our daily lives. God will be glad to see us making that little effort to wake up a little earlier just to pray or to hold up our weary bodies a little longer to give thanks at the end of the day. God will be glad to see that we have made an effort to share the gospel with others and to sow the first seeds. And we will be glad to know that the grace and mercy of the Lord continues to cover us each and every day.
Let us remind ourselves to make 2015 a more meaningful year, seeking to grow in our walk with the Lord and constantly pray for God’s strength to guide us through this challenging journey.
May the Lord be with you!