Daily Devotional

December 31, 2018

New Year’s Resolutions

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. – Daniel 1:8

As the new year dawns, it is common for ideas to start going through our minds of what we should resolve to change in the next calendar year. Maybe we want to lose weight, exercise more regularly, take more time for our children, read more, etc. For some people, these resolutions are simply ideas in their minds, while others will proactively pursue these goals by posting reminders in conspicuous places, making concrete plans for change, or perhaps finding a partner to keep them accountable. Some even consider their resolutions to be guidelines for the future.

While guidelines for our physical habits may have some merit, consider the importance of reviewing and renewing our spiritual “resolutions” on a regular basis. Spiritual improvements can have eternal effects not only for ourselves, but also for others who the Lord would have us encourage or help in some way. The Bible gives some guidelines for beginning a spiritual New Year’s resolution; for example, consider the passages in Matthew 22:37-40, Ephesians 6:13-18, and 2 Peter 1:5-7 as places where our resolutions could begin.

Someone once suggested these possible New Year’s resolutions:

  1. I will not place substitute gods before the Lord my God.
  2. I will not make an idol out of anything or anyone.
  3. I will not take the Lord’s name in vain. I will remember that it is holy.
  4. I will give God my Sabbath day.
  5. I will honor and respect my mother and father.
  6. I will not murder anyone for any reason . . . even in my mind.
  7. I will not commit adultery . . . even in my mind.
  8. I will not take things that are not mine.
  9. I will not lie or give false impressions.
  10. I will not covet another person’s mate, benefits, or belongings.
  11. I will be a diligent person.
  12. I will not waver in my faith.
  13. I will be known for uncompromising moral excellence.
  14. I will keep learning and enlarge my reservoir of knowledge about the Word of God.
  15. I will stay balanced and guard against extremes.
  16. I will persevere.
  17. I will make sure my godliness is free of hypocrisy.
  18. I will treat others tactfully and graciously.
  19. I will let my life be an example for Christ.
  20. I will always ask God to search my heart and show me where I stand with Him.

If we strive to meet these resolutions, we certainly will have plenty to keep us busy in the next year! New Year’s resolutions are famous for being short-lived, but our resolutions in the Gospel must be firm—and they can be with God’s help. May God bless you in the new year!