It’s that time of year when we make promises with ourselves to finally change. We read books, listen to podcasts, start new systems—all with good intentions. These resolutions often last a month or two, and then quickly wain. Could there be a way to pursue lifestyle change with a holistic Christian worldview? Can we faithfully pursue Christian new year’s resolutions? Thankfully, yes.
The true story of the world is one where God’s creation is teeming and flourishing with life. God places man and woman in the middle of this beautiful world and commands them to “be fruitful and multiply… and subdue it…” (Gen. 1:28). The word “subdue” doesn’t mean to exploit and oppress; it means to seek the continual flourishing of all that God has created and entrusted to man. It’s a joyful way to live!
Because of the fall, a Christian’s heart is always battling selfishness, and our intentions can be riddled with mixed motives. As we think about “resolutions” for the new year, we must first be honest with our own hearts. Ask the Lord to replace any pursuit of self-glory with a desire to glorify him.
Second, practicing gratitude will help fend off a heart of performance. Most resolutions don’t make it far because they’re rooted in a need to prove ourselves. But when we reflect on God’s grace in large and small forms, it roots us in the true story of God’s abundance and goodness in Christ. Genuine gratitude isn’t a warm feeling during the holiday season; it’s a lifestyle of recognizing God’s hand of provision.
Third, all of a Christian’s life is lived under the Lordship of Christ. Nothing falls out of the domain of his kingdom. For that reason, everything we have should held with an open hand. We should be willing to use all God has given us for the purpose of kingdom building. To help with this, ask yourself how to best manage, or steward, what God has given you—resources, relationships, etc. Then as you approach resolutions, they won’t feel overwhelming and burdensome, because you have nothing to prove.
If we approach it with the right perspective, pursuit of growth can be a form of worship. May we seek to please our heavenly Father in obedience that flows from gratitude. And as Paul reminds us, may we boast only in the cross (Gal. 6:14) as our heart’s true motive for change.