If you really think about it, New Year’s resolutions are usually pretty selfish. How can I get into shape, save more money, learn a new hobby, explore more… I’m not saying these are bad things, I just think it’s interesting to note that resolutions tend to be on the me, myself, and I side of things. As Christians, however, what type of resolutions should we be making? What resolutions are truly significant and should be found on our resolution list?
Paul, in his letter to Colossians (3:1-4), says that if you are a Christian, then you should set your mind on things above. Don’t dwell on earthly things, but take your thoughts to heavenly places. I don’t know about you, but when I “set” my mind to something, that speaks to a serious dedication. If I am set on accomplishing a particular goal, many if not all areas of my life will change to reflect the effort it takes to accomplish this goal. Paul says make your minds set on Jesus, so we can expect that by doing so, it will change many aspects of our lives…
Reading Colossians 3:5-17 will show you what life looks like if you do, in fact, set your minds on Jesus. There’s a list of things that you refrain from doing - things like avoiding sexual immorality, impurities, evil desires, anger, slander, obscene talk. And there’s another list of things that you will actively pursue, things like: have compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness, peace, and love. And, side note, these “do’s and don’ts” of the Bible — these are not in there just to make you good, moral, holier-than-thou people — they are not things that you begrudgingly have to do or can’t do just because God is a cosmic killjoy. NO! These are all things for YOUR good, for the good of this world and the people around you. A lot of people think religion produces people to be moral for morality’s sake, and that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Jesus… It just so happens that when you subscribe to Jesus and His teachings, and you whole-heartedly follow, your life happens to change in a way that is holy, righteous, and loving. (But I digress…)
Paul says that Christians should set our minds on Jesus, and if we do that, our lives will change in a way that makes heavenly impact on us and the people around us - and that is exactly what I think is worthy of our new year’s resolutions. Resolutions that matter make heavenly impact! My encouragement to you, for starters, is to read Colossians 3:1-17 and reflect on those list of what the Christian life looks like compared to what your life looks like (not that those lists in Colossians are the end all, be all’s to Christian living, but a good place to start). Are there things on those lists that stick out? Are there things that Christians should not do, that you currently struggle with? Make that your resolution! Are there things that Christians should be doing, that you don’t do. Make that your resolution!
And try to be specific as possible with your resolution, so you can gauge progress. Let me give you an example… Christians should be compassionate towards others, that’s found on this list in Colossians 3:12. Well, if you are generally a selfish person that rarely thinks about the well-being of others (especially those who are in a rough place that could use a helpful hand), make a resolution to be more compassionate this year. That, however, is are hard thing to gauge… So, instead of saying, “this year I want to be more compassionate,” maybe you make a resolution that’s something like “I want to make an extra effort, at least once a week, to help someone in need.”
And guess what, it’s not the change of calendar that will enable you to make transformations in your life — that’s a New Year’s delusion. You become more compassionate, kinder, humble, loving, and forgiving the more and more your minds are set on things above. You avoid immoralities, unrighteous anger, obscene talk the more your minds are fixed on Jesus. Verses 1-4, Paul’s words of setting your mind to Jesus, that’s your key to real New Year’s change. My encouragement is that your New Year’s change is something that makes heavenly impact on the world around you, not solely focused on me, myself, and I.