What Does the Bible Say About New Year’s Resolutions?
Let’s be candid: The difference between 11:59 p.m., December 31, 2018, and 12:00 a.m., January 1, 2019 is one of nothing more than arbitrary lines on a calendar. Scripture doesn’t specifically call out the new year as a time to make resolutions, and (surprise!) a new year doesn’t automatically mean a new you or a new world. God does, however, call us to the continual and constant process of examining ourselves, improving the world, caring for others, and deepening our spiritual relationships. In that light, new year’s can be an important tool—a marker to help motivate us to start doing the kinds of things that we’ve always wanted to do (or known that we should do), but haven’t yet had the time or willpower to follow through on—in short, to make resolutions. So what can scripture tell us about making new year’s resolutions?
Improving ourselves is part of drawing closer to God
Scripture encourages us to constantly engage in self-examination and self-improvement. “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord,” says Lamentations 3:40. New year’s resolutions can be a useful tool to spur us to self-reflection, and then set goals for bettering ourselves.
The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4:22, instructs us “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Paul is specifically speaking to new church members about Christian living. It’s a wonderful model of we can understand improving ourselves all year round, and make important resolutions that will help us “put on a new self.”
Even the Apostles acknowledged it can be hard to follow through
In Romans 7:18, Paul, wrestling with the effort to follow spiritual law in the face of temptation and his own nature, says “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Paul’s not alone. Surveys show that six months after making a resolution, more than half of all people have abandoned their efforts (and an astounding 95 percent of dieters fail to meet their goals!). Changing ingrained behaviors can be extremely difficult—even when you’re motivated. No one can do it alone.
Our help comes from God—and from a community of believers
If our resolutions are so hard to complete, how can we be successful? The bible has a clear answer for us: our help comes from God. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth,” says Psalm 121:2. And in conjunction with that, our help comes from a supportive community of fellow Christians.
Church is a time to be in the presence of God. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Spending time with other believers, and with God, is a powerful experience—and we are called to worship together. “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts,” writes Paul in Colossians 3:16.
One of the great benefits of attending Church regularly is tapping into a community that can help us with both our sacred and secular goals. The time for reflection, study, worship, and understanding provided by weekly services are powerful tools to recharge our resolve and help strengthen our conviction. “And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near,” reads Hebrews 10:24-25.
Each of us may be weak alone, but together we are infinitely stronger. Indeed, studies show that making resolutions and pursuing goals with a partner makes us 95% more likely to succeed—and communities of supportive people who are working with you to reinforce those goals can be even more powerful. That’s the power of regular church attendance. When we worship together, we strengthen each other—and our world. This new year, we encourage you to make your own resolutions to better yourself, deepen your faith, and worship together regularly with a community of believers.
Is Attending Church One Of Your Resolutions?
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to attend church more regularly, we’d love to help you achieve that goal. We have two services each Sunday – 8:30am and 11:00am. If you’d like to meet our pastors or learn more about All Saints during your visit, please send us an email by clicking the link below or say hello personally after service.
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