I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions because I think many times they are unrealistic or we don’t really care enough to follow through with them.
What I am a firm believer in is taking time to reflect on the previous year with the purpose of thanking God for His grace throughout and finding things to change/fine-tune for the year to come.
This year as I reflected over 2015 and the state of my heart in the year’s final month, I jotted down the following six areas for improvement…and quickly realized that they were, in fact, something I loved to chide: New Year’s Resolutions (sigh!).
I didn’t follow my list of 15 reading resolutions from 2015 perfectly—and I’m sure this list will be imperfectly followed as well. My goal is not perfection, but rather to take strides forward and change habits and thought patterns.
1. Make the strategic memorization of Scripture a priority.
An older saint recently told a friend in my small group to dedicate himself to memorizing Scripture while his mind is still easily able to memorize, because the ability to memorize wanes as years and decades go by. Thirty years from now, I don’t want to regret not memorizing more Scripture.
What better thing can we commit ourselves to than memorizing Scripture which will enlighten our eyes, make us wiser than our enemies, keep us from sin, and help us delight in our God more than great riches or sweet delicacies (Psalm 19)?
Along with members of my small group, my Scripture memorization goal is Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. It’ll be hard work—but it will be well worth it, and I am excited to see how God will bless my soul through it.
2. Make prayer a greater priority.
It seems like my prayer life ebbs-and-flows and does not grow or even remain consistent without deliberateness and sacrifice.
Lord, help me make my prayer life a greater priority and please increase my dependence on you.
3. Be more intentional and sacrificial in seeking to love others.
This goes hand-in-hand with #4 and should be self-explanatory. It can be easy for my busy schedule and to-do list take priority over spending time with people and loving them as God desires. I can’t forget my primary ministry is with people—not just reading, writing, or preparing the next sermon.
4. Consider my time a gift from God and not something I own and am to hoard for myself.
When I think about time as being mine, I am believing a lie. God has given me time to steward for His glory and for loving others—it’s not mine. I learned this lesson from a powerful sermon I shared a few weeks back, and has caused me to realign my way of thinking. Life is a vapor and is not to be hoarded selfishly (even if I can rationalize it), but is to be lovingly given to others for God’s glory.
5. Follow a plan for diligent and strategic reading and writing.
I love books and have a bazillion of them in my Kindle app or stacked on my desk. I enjoy learning about and reading new releases. I also enjoy furiously scribbling down notes for the next article I seek to write. This resolution seeks to have me be as effective and efficient as possible as a reader and writer. I’m asking the Lord for help with realistic goals, a clear focus, and the discipline to execute.
Lord willing this time next year, I will look back at 2016 as the year I finally finished Calvin’s Institutes, nourished my soul by reading more of C.S. Lewis and the Puritans, read a couple of classic novels, contributed more regularly to several prominent evangelical websites, grew this blog, and deepened my love for Christ and understanding of the gospel through reading and writing.
6. Be more organized in every area of life.
I enjoyed learning from Tim Challies in Do More Better about the importance of organization for productivity and have been organizing my life (both physical and digital) for better productivity and utility. One example of this is organizing notes and important ideas in my OneNote app and another is a renewed interest in investing time learning and utilizing a to-do list app like Things to help me stay focused.
I realize that without intentionality, frequent reminders, and God’s help, these goals all may fall by the wayside. But with those three things, 2016 promises to be another year of growth, productivity, and fruitfulness. Who knows what the Lord has in store?
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?