Friday, January 2, 2015

One New Year's Resolution You'll Want to Keep

I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions. I've made a few resolutions over the years, but by the end of February, they were only distant memories. I'll head to the gym this morning where I expect to find a large crowd of people who have made a renewed commitment to fitness. Most of that crowd will drop out shortly after they go back to work next week. By the end of January, the gym crowd will return to normal. It happens every year.

It's not easy to remain committed to resolutions for an entire year. I think that can largely be attributed to the type of resolutions we make. Weight loss and fitness are worthy goals, but those require giving up foods we crave and actually exercising on a regular basis. Most people know they should do it, but don't really want to commit to doing what it takes.  I've been there before.

Reading through the entire Bible in a year is a common New Year's resolution among Christians, and has been on my list a number of times. There are reading schedules that will take you through the Bible in a year, but if you miss a few days, good luck trying to catch up. It quickly becomes a seemingly insurmountable task. At least, it has been for me.

There is one resolution you can make this year that you can actually keep. It's not task oriented, and it's not a goal that you will fully reach. It's not measurable quantitatively. It is not a resolution that will defeat you if you stumble during the process. It is a goal that will motivate you to keep going as you continue to pursue it. This year, why not resolve to get to know God?  I'm not talking about an academic knowledge. Dedicate youself this year to get to know God on a personal level. Here are three suggestions to help you in your pursuit of a deeper relationship with God:

Spend time with God in prayer.

Prayer is more than submitting a list of requests to God each day and asking for His blessing over meals. Take the time to acknowledge God as the one true God. See Him in the splendor of His holiness, His righteousness, His mercy, His loving kindness and His grace. Take time to pause and wait for God to meet you in your prayer. Listen for Him to speak to your heart. Ask Him teach you His ways so you may walk with Him.

Read the Bible expressly for the purpose of discovering who God is.

While there is value in following a schedule to read through the Bible over the course of the year, or reading a chapter in Proverbs each day, don't limit your reading to just those things. We often read the Bible to look for ways we can apply it to our lives. Make a new habit of looking for what the Scriptures reveal about God. If you come to a passage you don't understand, don't just skim over it and leave it there. Mark it and come back to it. Do some additional digging to learn what the passage means and what it may reveal about God. There is no reward in heaven for speed reading through the Bible. God has given us the scriptures so we can know Him. The more you know Him, the more you will fall in love with Him.

Exercise your faith in following God's leading.

Have you ever felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to do something, but didn't follow through with it for one reason or another?  Maybe you felt the urge to start a Bible study group in your neighborhood, but you just didn't feel like you knew enough about the Bible to do it. Perhaps you know of a family with a financial need but you've been hesitant to offer your assistance. One way to get to know God personally is to respond to His prompting in faith. You will learn that He will give you the ability and resources to do whatever He has called you to do.  As you learn to trust God, your relationship with Him will grow deeper and deeper.

Whatever resolutions you have made for 2015, I hope you will succeed in keeping them. Making the effort to know God on a more personal level will bring joy to your heart as you grow in an intimate relationship with Him.

Happy 2015 to all!