We often begin a new year with a sense of expectancy, hope, and initial energy to start anew. We want so much to make the coming year better than the past one. So often that energy is focused on ourselves. We want to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, stop a bad habit, or accomplish a major goal. Improving oneself is a good thing. The problem is that it makes the new year about us, ALL about us. Perhaps it is time to change those New Year’s resolutions into something more important.
God does not work on an annual schedule. He doesn’t begin a new year with a refocused goal. In fact, God does not change at all. We change, and God is the one who wants to change us. For all the voices in the world that tell you, “You are great just the way you are,” and, “You do not need to change to make anyone happy,” I submit that God requires us to change. We cannot have a real salvation experience with Jesus Christ and not be changed from death to life, from sin to obedience, from hopeless to hope, from sadness to joy. That work is not done at salvation. God continues to work on us. If we want a relationship with the God of all Holiness, we need to become more holy. Without it we will not even see God. “Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it.” Hebrews 12:14 (CEB)
2016 can be the year we focus on improving ourselves as God wants us to improve and grow. Instead of our goals being self-focused we can find the things God wants to change in us. Have you yet asked God what is it he wants you to be in this coming year? Have you inquired what part of your life does God want to change? Have you made a list of the things that God wants you to hand over to him so he can the Lord of your whole life? Perhaps that list of resolutions would be more important if we all let God give them to us.
Holiness is to be like God. Holiness is that desire to follow God and obediently follow him. Because of his great love for us, we desire to follow him. Holiness is like a fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit, that feeds on God’s Word, exciting us about doing God’s work, and directing us to joyfully work in God’s Kingdom alongside other disciples. Holiness is about letting God complete us, finish us, perfect us. If we become like the clay, God will be the potter, slowly and surely shaping us into the women and men God needs. The process for becoming holier is sanctification. The pursuit has been called Christian Perfection.
We can develop habits that draw us closer to God. No one becomes holier by chance. We do it intentionally. Thus we need a focused resolution to grow in faith. The New Year’s resolution is the perfect place to do it. I challenge you to make a list of resolutions for 2016 that grow your faith. Some possible ideas include:
- Attend church every Sunday to worship God.
- Find a weekly small group or Bible study where you can grow in God’s Word.
- Regularly tithe from the blessings God has provided to you and your family.
- Spend time daily in prayer and reading the Bible.
- Invite specific people to church with you. Offer to come and pick them up on your way.
- Focus on a Fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Forgive and reconcile a broken relationship with someone.
- Tame your tongue by stopping gossip and instead building others up.
God likely has specific areas of your life that he wants to work on with you. Let God reveal those to you if you do not already know what they are. You’ll be amazed at how God will grow you. “I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (CEB)
Happy New Year!