A New Year Resolution That Matters
What comes to mind when you think of a New Year resolution? Many set goals to lose weight, quit smoking, make more money, exercise more, etc. According to Statista, 53% of Americans surveyed in 2017 wanted to save money in the coming year closely followed by 43% who wanted to lose weight or get in shape. But studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them.¹ While getting in shape or saving money are great goals to achieve, there is something far more important that we should focus on in this coming year, and that’s a resolution that directly impacts our soul. I believe that if we focus on a goal to become more like Jesus every day, then we will not fall in the mix of people who don’t stay committed to their resolutions year after year. What’s more, this goal will undoubtedly put us on the right track to seeing God in heaven one day (Matt. 7:13,14).
It’s been said that on the day of judgement when God looks at us He wants to see Jesus (2 Cor. 5:10). That’s because our Lord is the one who we should be patterning our lives after. Jesus said, “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. . .” (Matt. 10:25, NKJV). A disciple is simply a learner or a pupil. In this case, our teacher is Christ. The Messiah is the golden standard that all men should strive to imitate, just like the apostle Paul did (1 Cor. 11:1). It’s understandable if you think that this goal is too hard to achieve, especially considering that Jesus is the most perfect man who ever lived, but it does not have to be! Here is a four-step action plan that will hopefully set you on the right track for this most important New Year’s resolution:
Step 1) Always Start with a Prayer
Prayer is our direct lifeline to God; have you been dialing it lately? If we have a need, we ought to be confident in approaching the throne of grace and expressing it to God (Heb. 4:16). Our prayers should always be aligned with the will of the Father (Matt. 26:39). Since the Lord wills that we strive to become like Jesus, then we can be confident that He will help us in this endeavor if we ask Him (1 Cor. 11:1; Jas. 1:5,6). I urge you to pray as often as you can and see how the Lord blesses you in this endeavor.
Step 2) Make a Commitment
Statistics show that the problem with making New Year's resolutions is that very few people stay committed to them. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” When we make goals that start and end with God, He will help us see them through. Jesus was committed in fulfilling the will of the Father (John 4:34). He carried out His commitment all the way to the cross; as a result, He gained all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). His great example in commitment and seeing things through until the very end should serve as a lesson for us as we seek to become more like Him.
Step 3) Get Out of Your Mind
One of the main reasons why some people do not stay committed to their goals is because they aren’t willing to change their mindset. As the old saying goes, “Old habits die hard.” Humans are creatures of habit. Since we need to become more like Jesus, then we’ve got to kick the old habit of thinking worldly thoughts and replacing them with the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). In the first four verses of Philippians 2, Paul admonished the church to be like-minded and clothe themselves with humility and unselfishness, just like Christ. If we can make up our minds to do this, then we can be confident that we are molding ourselves into the image of Christ both outwardly and inwardly.
Step 4) Find an Accountability Partner
When the going gets tough, we need people who are going to be there to help us get across the finish line. Have you ever thought what might have become of Paul if he didn’t have Barnabas by his side (Acts 9:26,27)? Or what if Timothy did not have the fatherly guidance that Paul provided (2 Tim. 2:2,3)? There is a reason why the Holy Spirit said, “two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9,10). We all need companions in this life, especially to cheer us on to victory. The Christian’s main goal is to get to heaven, and that entails becoming more like Jesus each and every day. No one said this task would be easy, but it gets easier when we surround ourselves with like-minded people who are committed to helping us achieve this goal.
Making a New Year resolution is great; I encourage everyone to set goals for themselves, but the key is staying committed to them. Many decide to start a fresh slate in the new year. How about starting today to become more like our Master? He is everything we can ever dream of and is more than adequate. Spend time with Him every day by immersing yourself in His word and commit to following His example. You’ll be happy you did, and most of all, God will be pleased.
¹Prossack, Ashira. “This Year, Don't Set New Year's Resolutions.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 1 Jan. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/12/31/goals-not-resolutions/?sh=af636e63879a.