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Al Earley | Spiritual resolutions for the New Year

Each year at this time I like to surf the Internet to see what is happening in the world of New Year’s Resolutions. There are always many web pages that collect resolutions from anonymous contributors. Predictably, some are serious, many are silly or bizarre, and some are funny, especially those sent in by pets. By far and away the largest number of New Year’s Resolutions have to do with losing weight. Second, are resolutions to save more or spend less money, and third is to exercise.

On one list, ranking ninth, is the resolution not to make any more resolutions, which raises an interesting question: why do we make resolutions at all? It only takes a few years to realize that change is not very fun, it is much easier to keep doing things the old way, and we feel guilty when we fail.  Yet, even people who make resolutions not to make resolutions usually soon recant because of a basic desire to improve themselves. I believe this is something God has set within each of us.

The apostle Paul often had a section in each of his letters where he addresses the way we live our lives. For example, all of Colossians 3 has much guidance for Christian living, including verse 3, which says, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

Paul reminds us that part of the Christian faith includes self-examination. We are not to be content with the Christian we are, but always desire to be remade by God into the disciple God desires, for God loves each of us too much to leave us where we are today. God wants us to always become new in His image.

As Christians, we can change anytime by the power of faith in Jesus Christ. We can make a decision to lose weight any day we want, but special dates help to motivate us to desire positive changes. Think about how many times you have decided to live differently on a birthday, during lent or at Easter, during the Christmas season, at the beginning of school or at the anniversary of a major event.

I think making changes in our lives is a good thing. Perhaps this New Year is the perfect time to make those changes, and so I offer some “Spiritual Resolutions” for you to consider.

1. Resolve to confess that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior each day, and reflect upon what this means. This is the foundation of faith, and by making this confession each day, we write it on our heart so it becomes fundamental to who we are. Faith in Christ gives us the power we need to make the hard changes in our life to be a better person.

2. Resolve to worship each week. For many, this may mean finding a church home. They come in all forms, and going to a new church can be difficult the first time. If this becomes a barrier think about someone you like and trust that goes to church, and ask if you can go to church with them.

3. Resolve to learn a new spiritual discipline. Reading the Bible each day, praying every day, or deciding to tithe to your church, are three spiritual disciplines that dramatically change our lives quickly. Other disciplines include fellowship with other Christians in a small group — this may include prayer, study, and holding one another accountable — mission work, fasting and evangelism.

4. Resolve to refrain from watching television, playing computer games, surfing the net, or any other solitary diversions until you have spent time with God and your family.

As this year concludes and we begin another, I thank you for reading my column. I hope it has somehow added to your life, and I encouraged you to be a better person. May God bless you with a happy and prosperous New Year.