FOR MANY, a new year means a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to set new goals, strengthen their resolve, and commit to better habits in an effort to enhance or improve their lives. The common practice of making New Year’s resolutions is usually based on a person’s own desires and ambitions. But what is the Christian approach?
According to the Bible, setting goals, making plans, and preparing for the future is wise. Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” There isn’t anything wrong with Christians making New Year’s resolutions, but we should approach them from a Christ-focused perspective. How? We can start by asking the Lord what He wants for our lives this year. The Bible says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Prov. 16:3 NIV).
As we decide what goals to set this year, it’s important that we examine our motivation for wanting what we want. Whether a goal is spiritual, material, or physical, what matters most is the motive behind it. Proverbs 16:2 (NIV) says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” God looks at the heart.
Whether we’re setting goals, making changes in our lives, or believing God for something specific, we should first check our hearts and consider the “why” behind what we desire. When our motives are right, accomplishing our goals will have greater value to us.
For example, wanting to shed some pounds is a good goal. But we must ask ourselves, “Do I want to lose weight out of vanity or truly for better health?” This leads to the next way our resolutions can be more Christ-focused: Are they God-honoring or self-honoring?
New Year’s resolutions are often all about self-improvement. While we should want to improve ourselves, if self is all we’re thinking about, then we’ve got it wrong. We must be careful not to put ourselves at the center of our plans. Instead, let’s ask God if our resolutions align with His desires for us and if they are part of His plan for our lives. Self-serving goals are doomed. Let’s put Jesus at the center of our plans and allow Him to help us accomplish them. As we do, we will find our year and our lives much more fulfilling.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Practical Steps to Reaching Your Goals in 2024 and Beyond
Whatever you are believing God for or wanting to accomplish this year, here are some practical steps to help you get started.
- Start with prayer. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). Vision and goal setting begins with seeking God and asking for His help. Ask Him to show you what steps to take to accomplish your goals. Then wholeheartedly commit your plans to Him.
- Create a vision list or board. Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) tells us, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets.” Your vision and goals need to be written down. Your vision isn’t really a vision if you can’t see it. And if your vision isn’t in front of you, you will forget it after a while.
- Find Scriptures. Find at least two scriptures that back up what you are believing for or that support your goals or vision. Apply those verses daily by speaking them. Then by faith declare, “It is done,” and thank God for His love and faithfulness toward you.
- Stay committed. Make changes to prepare to receive what you’re believing for. Don’t give up no matter how long it takes. Each day, do something in faith to work toward your goal or vision. Allow the natural and the supernatural to work together to bring your vision to pass.
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