Eight New Year's Resolutions for Christians
1. Love your enemy
It's Jesus' most famous but least followed commandment. Who really gets your blood boiling? Whether it's rival churches and/or denominations, Nigel Farage or environmentalists, MPs or the gangs of youths down your street – try showing kindness and gentleness to them. Even if they're just on the telly: instead of ranting at them, try praying for them.
2. Drop the Christianese
When you bring problems to the Lord, you don't need to persevere in supplications in order to sound like a good servant of the Ancient of Days. If your way of bringing glory to the Lord involves language that makes no sense to anyone outside of the fellowship of believers, try stopping for a few weeks and see what happens. Especially if you're going to try to do the next point.
3. Talk to your non-Christian friends the same way you would your Christian friends
Most people give different answers to people outside the church than those inside. This is especially the case if the answer includes prayer, Jesus or angels and demons. When asked why we changed jobs, to Christians we might say that God gave a sign it was the right way: to others we'll say it's because the hours were more flexible. Try being more open about your personal faith to everyone in your life, and see what happens.
4. Be nice to your pastor
Whether it's getting to church on time, restraining from lecturing your leader on finer points of theology or just offering to do some boring admin for a couple of hours a month, try to help your church leader out a bit more this year.
5. Give more
However much you give to charity or to your church, are you able to give more? If your budget is tight, is there anything that you can do without to free up more cash? Could you drop the gym and give the extra time and money to something more worthwhile? Could the kids get less toys and more time with you instead?
6. Start cycling/walking
OK so most New Year's resolutions don't usually include dropping the gym – as suggested in the last point to save money and give it to charity. There are other possible benefits. How about cycling or walking everywhere? You'll save on money, gain green points and also get a bit fitter.
7. Prioritise prayer
We've all heard the benefits of regular prayer time with God, but very often busyness takes over and it's hard to stick to a plan. If nothing else, try to commit to a particular amount or time for prayer each day. If you struggle with prayer, try writing them down, using biblical prayers or the PrayerMate app. Treat prayer as important as brushing your teeth or getting a shower each day.
8. Stop the gossip
While making the cup of tea in your morning break or washing the cups after church, there's a strong temptation to gossip, especially if it's in the guise of passing on prayer needs. Or, if you're addicted to those celebrity magazines and websites, try getting rid of them for the year.