We have all been there; facing a new year and determining to lose 10 pounds only to gain it right back. Or perhaps you want to deepen your prayer life but struggle with time. Here are 5 biblical pieces of advice to assist you in your new year resolutions.
1. Define clear goals
Not to be confused with point #2, setting clear goals is vital for having direction. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight.” Say “I want to lose 10, 15, or 20, pounds.” Be clear and specific about your goals. Make them quantifiable. If you want to read the scriptures more this year then set a number on it. 1 chapter per day. 5 chapters per day. Whatever you do make sure you can track it.
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. (Proverbs 29:18)
I have been longing for many years to visit you, 24I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. (Romans 15:23-25)
After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” (Acts 19:21)
How does a person like Paul plant 14-20 different churches across hundreds of miles in the Mediterranean? He makes very clear travel plans and goals. Paul did not want to just plant a church in the west, he wanted to plant one in Spain.
God did not want the Israelites to just be moral people, he gave then 613 specific laws to live by. He defined clear parameters.
Likewise, you must be clear on your goals. What specifically is it that you want to accomplish?
2. Make a schedule and a plan
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28)
Some people are natural planners and others have to work at it. Either way, the Bible points to the wisdom of making plans and preparing to do things before doing them. Your new year resolution should be well thought out and planned.
If you are going to start eating better then make sure you have good food around you at home and work to eat and not junk food to satisfy your cravings. If you are going to work out more make sure you have a set schedule of when you plan to workout and for how long. Sometimes putting things down on paper will also help you to remember your schedule as well. Others use phones or cloud planners. What ever you like to use just make sure you sit down and write out a detailed plan of action.
3. Stop doing too much
Moses suffered from trying to “do it all” and luckily his father-in-law was wise enough to give him good guidance.
The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. 14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
15 Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.16 Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God’s decrees and instructions.”
17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. 19 Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. 21 But select capable men from all the people—men who fearGod, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officialsover thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. 23 If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Exodus 18:17-23)
Jethro had already had a family and many people to look after. Surely he also learned the hard way that doing too much (even of a good thing) can turn into a bad thing. If you try to do everything for everyone you will end up not having the time or endurance to do what YOU need to do to keep your resolution. You will have to choose when to say NO to others so you can say YES to your resolution.
In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:1-4)
Sometimes you will have to delegate menial tasks to others. Maybe it’s time for your kids to start taking out the trash or helping with the family chores. Or perhaps you can pay a kid in the neighborhood to shovel the driveway and mow the lawn. There are dozens of ways to start unloading responsibility that others can easily do for you so that you can take care of yourself.
4. Make meaningful resolutions
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:1)
Making plans to increase your vanity will ultimately fail. You have to find something that you are motivated to do deeply and make sure it lines up with what God wants for you.
During the year there are two of me. The one with no food control what-so-ever, and the me that is on lent. When it’s lent time I can forgo anything I decide through prayer and diligence. Usually for lent I just eat fruits, veggies, nuts, and raw grains. It’s incredibly difficult for me usually but during lent I have no struggles at all because I am doing it for the Lord and not for me. I have purpose behind it. What I am doing is not being done to glorify myself. Likewise, whatever you do make sure you commit it to the Lord and not your own pleasures or vanity.
5. Seek God’s help
I’ve failed on many resolutions. However, God want’s our plans to succeed as long as they line up with God’s will. If we fail God will be faithful to carry you through to the end.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)