An actual statistic found on the internet: 92% of people who make New Year’s Resolution do not see those resolutions to completion. I think the majority of people who set new goals fail at them because they don’t believe they can actually achieve them. Maybe people aren’t fully dedicated to their new goals, or perhaps are even intimidated by their own goals. Have you ever avoided making a goal out of fear you wouldn’t be able to complete it? In our faith, it is important to set spiritual goals if we truly want to deepen our relationship with Christ. How do we set spiritual goals with the belief that they can actually be accomplished?
Ezekiel was a prophet in the Old Testament, during the Babylonian captivity. God’s people had become so corrupt, wicked, and distant from the One True God that judgement was becoming increasingly necessary. Babylon swooped in to destroy their cities, kill, and disperse the Jewish people - sending many of them to Babylon as their captives. This was, obviously, an incredibly low point for the Jewish people as they were taken from their homes and destruction took over. Ezekiel spoke to God’s people with a message of judgement - that the reason they were in that situation was because of their sin. But Ezekiel also spoke a message of hope - that the captivity would not last forever and that God would restore. In Ezekiel 36:24-27, God spoke to His people and said,
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all you impurities and from all you idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
In their lowest and desperate moments, God says that He will restore. He will make things new. He will make things right. I love the message of renewal here that God promises. Renewal is what New Year’s goals are all about, right? Make things new, a new way of living. Whether its a fresh start in your diet, eating healthier, exercising more, save more money, or whatever the goal is - it is to start fresh and make new. God, in His love, promised a fresh start for these people and made it happen. He was good on His promise. And there’s a very important New Year’s goal-making message in that…
This may sound like one of those inspirational posters, but in creating spiritual goals know that if you dream it, you can achieve it. If you set a spiritual goal, put your mind to it, and pray on it - if that goal is important enough to you, God will make it happen. You will achieve what you set out to do because God is with you and He promises renewal. Make 2017 a spiritual fresh start, if you need it. Set some goals to grow closer to Jesus. Don’t be discouraged if you’re feeling spiritually low, than this is especially for you!
What spiritual goal do you need to set? Do you need to be spending more time in God’s Word? Set an attainable and specific goal (that you can actually measure). Don’t just say: I need to read my Bible more. Set a goal that is tangible: I want to read the entire New Testament this year, I want to read one of the four Gospels every single month in 2017, or read the entire Bible before 2018! Is there a sin that you need to overcome? Set a spiritual goal to have accountability and get serious about it - every time you struggle with that sin, you must talk to your accountability about it and receive some prayer for it. Set a spiritual goal with the expectation that if you truly care about achieving it, believe that God will carry you through. He will help you to make things new and draw you into a closer relationship with Him.