The five days between Christmas and the New year are very important to me. I reflect on the last year and plan for the next year in that week’s time. When the New Year begins, I hope to be as ready as possible for the coming year with the plan I’ve worked and prayed through intentionally.
Many of us set New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make positive life changes. However, if we are followers of Jesus Christ, should we strive for a different kind of resolution? Should the Bible guide us in setting our goals for the new year? Let’s look at what the Bible says about setting New Year’s resolutions.
The Bible encourages us to strive for excellence and righteousness.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” This verse speaks to how important it is to stay focused on good things. Our minds can become filled with negative thoughts and ideas; Philippians 4:8 reminds us of the importance of focusing on honoring God with our thoughts, motives, and actions. This doesn’t happen by accident. You and I chose to be obedient by thinking about the right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things in life.
As Christians, we should never forget why God put us here on Earth to reflect Him— We are created in His image with purpose! Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” In this new year, let’s remember that there is a purpose behind everything we do—and our New Year’s resolutions should reflect God and His glory. As we trust and seek Him first (Matthew 6:33), He will guide our steps throughout the year ahead.
The Bible also encourages us to care for ourselves spiritually, mentally, and physically.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul writes, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” This passage speaks to how important it is that we take care of ourselves by living a lifestyle that honors God. We should do this by taking time to rest, tend to our bodies, and engage in activities that nurture our relationship with God, like reading His Word, praying regularly, and staying engaged with our local church community.
I recently took time to work on my outer man because I was convinced I had let some disciplines go by the wayside. I did not do it to lose weight, though that was an added benefit. I resolved that I needed to get some of my life disciplines to serve the Lord and those around me better. It took hard work and true accountability from other brothers in Christ. In the end, the effort was worth it. I feel better than ever and more ready to serve those around me. Taking care of ourselves spiritually, physically, and mentally can help us better steward what God has entrusted to us.
The Bible also encourages us to serve others with love and humility.
Galatians 5:13-14 states, “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature but freedom to serve one another in love… For all the law can be summed up in this one commandment; Love your neighbor as yourself.” This passage reminds us that when we serve others with love and humility, it pleases God because He loves when people show compassion towards one another regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. So when making New Year’s Resolutions consider incorporating selfless acts into them!
If your resolutions are only focused on you, then go back to the drawing board. Ensure that your goals include loving others. Make it your goal to present your wife, kids, friends, family, co-workers, church members, and the like better this year. May they come closer to Christ or calling on Him as savior because you were a clear picture of the Gospel in their life.
The Bible tells us to leave the outcome up to God.
Proverbs 16:9 also speaks to this idea, saying, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We can plan all we want, but God will ultimately direct us along the right path. That should comfort us when we feel overwhelmed or frustrated by our goals!
As Christ’s followers, New Year’s Resolutions are an opportunity for us to grow closer to God by taking steps towards living out an abundant life He has planned for us (John 10:10). We should strive for excellence by focusing on what’s true, noble and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), taking care of ourselves spiritually, mentally and physically (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) while also serving others with love (Galatians 5:13-14). So don’t just make resolutions; make them biblical ones! Leave the results up to the Lord; His will is more important than getting your way.
May this year be one of your best as you live to please Christ.