It's the end of one year and the beginning of a new year, and you know what that means? It's time to get your pen and paper out and write down your New Year's resolutions.
But wait, before you do that, I want you to answer this question: How many of your resolutions from last year did you actually achieve or do? If you've accomplished more than half of them, you deserve a pat on the back, and if you weren't able to do even 25 percent of them, then you have another chance at it this new year.
Believe me when I say that I really get it. It's hard to follow through New Year's resolutions. Last year, I told myself I'll take it easy on the junk food and I easily failed that. We're all different and we have different reasons why we cannot achieve our resolutions but maybe this year, you just don't make a promise to yourself, you make a promise to God too.
I find it really interesting that when I try to achieve a goal that will help strengthen my relationship with God, I push myself more. Maybe because there's more inspiration or motivation, or maybe, my love for God intensifies my will to push through.
So today, let's talk about some of the most realistic and achievable New Year's resolutions for Christians that you should definitely have on your list and why you need to do them too. Let's start:
1. Read God's word more
You go home exhausted from work and all you can think about is getting the chores done and going to bed. You might not forget to pray but reading God's word has a different effect on you. When you pray, you simply talk to God. But when you read the Bible, you learn more about God and His story.
I know, the Bible is a tough book read and even finish, but there's no need to rush. Set aside a few minutes each day (in the morning, lunch break if you prefer) to read a verse or a chapter. If you don't know where to start, you can search of daily devotions that can help guide you. There are so many lessons to learn from reading God's word and you'll be very surprised how timely your devotions will be.
2. Pray more and harder.
Admit it or not, there are days when you pray just for the sake of not forgetting to thank the Lord for His blessings. However, your talk with God should be more meaningful than this. Prayer is your only line of communication to God, which means that you should take your time with it and make the most out of it too.
Moreover, reading God's word and prayer goes hand-in-hand. You need to constantly ask God for wisdom to help you better understand His word. You know, prayers don't have to take long. As long as you pour out your heart and mind to the Lord, that makes a good prayer.
3. Be more compassionate.
In this world we live in, it's always going to be the survival of the fittest. You may not notice it but we've been brainwashed to think that all that matters is "me, me and me" only. We do everything we can to buy what we want and live a comfortable life. However, what we fail to see is how self-centered we have become.
God's second commandment is to "Love your neighbor as yourself..." (Mark 12:31). This only means that you should practice the same compassion you have for your family and loved ones with strangers and people who are in need.
4. Give and give more.
As the old adage goes, "the more you give, the more you'll receive." This doesn't only apply to the Christmas season. In fact, in Luke 6:38, it says "Give and it will be given to you....for with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."
This coming year, be more giving and charitable. When you see a homeless man, willingly give him something without any judgment. When a relative approaches you asking for help, give what you can. You should always have a heart to help others throughout the year because God commanded each and everyone of us to love and care for one another.
5. Make church a priority.
Some of us believe that going to church every Sunday is enough. While attending service and being in fellowship with Christians is indeed a great thing, your church participation shouldn't be limited to that. Your church is your spiritual home and its activities help fortify your faith.
Be a part of a prayer or support group in your neighborhood. Attend weekly Bible studies. Join retreats and other activities that will help you know more about your brothers and sisters in Christ. Make these activities a priority. Remember, when you participate, your church grows and when it does, it becomes a better home for fellow Christians as well as those who need God in their lives.
What I really like about these New Year's resolutions is that their easy to achieve as long as you put your heart into it. And of course, with God's help and guidance, this will be the year for spiritual growth.