4 January 2019

I don’t think I’ve ever achieved a New Year’s resolution. Or at least, not long-term!

Every year I make a list of self-improvement strategies. Predictably, I plan to get fit and lose some weight; improve my saving and reduce spending; and for once, to stick at a Bible reading plan (yep, you guessed it: for the whole year!).

If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy looking forward and setting goals for the year ahead, dreaming of things you want to achieve.

But why do we set resolutions (or goals) in the first place? Is there some genie-in-a-bottle magical power that gets unleashed on January 1st every year? I don’t think so.

According to Proverbs 16:9,

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

This verse really speaks to me, and to all of us as humans, as it exposes how often we try to achieve goals on our own.

In his book, ‘Do More Better’, Tim Challies offers a helpful guide to productivity and goal setting. He says,

“productivity is not what will bring purpose to your life, but what will enable you to excel in living out your existing purpose” (2015, p.10).

He goes on to describe our life’s purpose as Christians as glorifying God by doing good to others (Romans 11:36; Matt 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

Therefore, the best kinds of resolutions are ones which effectively steward our gifts, talents, time and energy for the good of others and to the glory of God.

In light of all this, in 2019 I want to set resolutions (which God will help me achieve) that will glorify God and serve others…

  1. My first resolution is to pray more in line with God’s will. One thing I’m going to intentionally pray for this year is for more opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with my friends and family.
  2. A second practical resolution, to help me achieve the first resolution, is to set aside specific time (in my somewhat-busy weekly schedule) to meet up one-to-one with non-Christians to engage or evangelise—ideally to read God’s word together!

Do you know what helps me believe that these resolutions will be achievable (hint: it’s the good ol’ Sunday School answer)? It’s Jesus! God most graciously ticked-off every to-do list I’ll ever make and accomplished the ultimate resolution when He gave His son to die in my place. God resolved to redeem us for life with Him forever! Unlike our poor attempts to set goals, God’s always keeps his promises!

Because of God’s riches at Christ’s expense (grace), I don’t need to feel burdened to achieve my goals or to do good. Jesus has already rescued us from man-made plans and goal setting, and our desire to look good in front of others.

So here’s a challenge for 2019. If our life’s purpose as Christians is to glorify God by doing good to others, then there are no greater resolutions we could set for 2019 than those which are selfless, or oriented towards others. What will you resolve to achieve for God’s glory this year?

– Lauren Russell
Communications Director (P/T) and 7pm member