What Is Jesus’ New Year’s Resolution for You?

Jan 7, 2023 | Blogs, Christian Worldview

Setting a Goal for the New Year

At the start of a new year, many people develop a list of the goals—or resolutions—they want to accomplish in the year ahead. You may be one of them. You may have started out of the gate strong this year, or maybe you’ve already determined that what’s on your list is laudable, but likely unachievable. Perhaps with the busyness of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, you haven’t even had a chance to think about what your resolution might be for the year ahead.

How Do You Set Goals? 

If you set a goal (or goals) for the year ahead, what was the process you used to arrive at your list? Did you examine your weight, your finances, your house, or something else external and think, “Wow! I need to make some changes!”? Perhaps you wrote down that you’d like to lose weight or get in better shape. Or, maybe you set a specific goal with a timeframe and strategies to enable you to accomplish your goal—for example, to lose 25 pounds by December 31,2023 by going on the Keto eating plan, exercising for an hour daily, and listening to motivational speakers. Or, perhaps you didn’t choose to set any goals at all, thinking, “I’ve set them in the past, and I didn’t accomplish them, so why bother?”

One Goal That Could Change Your Life

Whether you’ve established a general or very specific goal, or even no goal at all for this year, I want to encourage you to resolve to do one thing that could change your life. Given that we were created for God’s glory and HIs pleasure, not for our own pleasure and glory, doesn’t it make sense that rather than looking at our external needs to determine a goal/s for the year, that we turn to God instead when we are seeking to make changes in our life?

What is that one resolution that could truly be life-changing for you in the year ahead? Here it is: Carve out time to get quiet before the Lord. Ask Him what it is He wants from you in the year ahead. Tell Him that it’s your desire above all else to live a life that is pleasing to Him, and acknowledge your inability to do that apart from Him. Ask Him to give you ears to hear His Spirit speak to you. And then…listen. Wait upon Him until you hear Him speak to your spirit. He longs to speak to you and share with you His goal for you for the year ahead!

As you wait upon Him, God may give you a word or a phrase that will convict you. Or one that will encourage you. And almost certainly, one that will challenge you. Perhaps it will be the word ‘forgive’, and He’ll bring to your mind someone you haven’t totally forgiven. Or, it could be the word ‘repent’—and you’ll know the sin He’s asking you to turn away from. Or maybe it’ll be ‘fear not’, because you’ve held back from obeying Him due to your fear of failure or fear of man. It might be that you’ll hear Him speak a character attribute, such as ‘humility’ or ‘kindness’, that you sense He wants to develop in you during the year ahead. Or maybe He’ll encourage you with the word ‘persevere’ because He knows you are growing battle weary. Perhaps it’ll be the words ‘trust me’ because you’re facing a situation that seems impossible to you.  Or maybe He’ll speak to you an entire scripture verse, such as “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9) Or, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4 ESV) Or perhaps, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”( Matthew 5:44) Or maybe all or part of the scripture found in Proverbs 3:5-8: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Jesus’ Goal for You is…Uniquely for You!

It could be one of those words or phrases, or none of them. It could be a word, a phrase, a sentence, a scripture, a paragraph or longer. Keep in mind that you are uniquely and wonderfully made, that your experiences and circumstances are unique to you, and God has something special He wants to share with just you! What you can know is that He will never speak a word to you that is contrary to what He’s already written to you in the Bible. 

After God gives you a word or phrase, then I encourage you first to look up that word or phrase in the dictionary and a thesaurus. Write down the specific synonyms the Lord lays on your heart as you read those. Next, do a Biblical word study on it. (You can go to biblegateway.com and put in the word/phrase and you will find where in the bible it appears, and in what context). Or, if He’s given you a scripture verse, look that up and its context. For example, I heard the Lord speak to me the word ‘disciple’, which is both a noun and verb. I then looked up every reference to that word to delve deeper into what God desires for me in giving me that word. I believe He is calling me to walk even closer with Him this year as His devoted disciple, wholly living for Him and His purposes, and that I am to disciple others in the year ahead. It is both what He is calling me to be, and to do. 

Ask Him for Clarification If You Need It

Whatever it is that you hear, if you don’t know why that’s God’s word or phrase to you, ask Him. We build intimacy with God through communication. We need to spend time asking Him, listening to Him, and asking again if we need clarification. Feel free at all times to pour your heart out before Him, and to ask Him when you need wisdom. And we need His wisdom at all times, and for all things, don’t we?

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 ESV

For example, if you heard God speak to you the word ‘repent’, but don’t know what it is that He wants you to turn away from, ask Him. And wait upon Him to speak to your heart. Or, if it’s the word ‘forgive’, wait upon Him and seek His counsel regarding who it is you are to forgive. 

Set Your Mind on What He Speaks to You

God knows that our tendency is to forget. That’s why over and over again in the Bible He calls us to ‘remember’. Whatever He speaks to you, write it down in a place (or in places) where you will see it daily. You may wish to put it on a 3×5 card and tape it to your bathroom mirror so you’ll see it every morning. Or put it on your screensaver for your computer or phone. Or on your steering wheel. Speak it out when you get up and when you go to bed. God cared enough about you to give you the word/s He want you to focus upon this year, respond to His word to you with loving care and ‘hide it in your heart’. (Psalm 119:11) God intends for the word/s He gave to you to be a focus for you this year. What we focus on expands, and God wants to expand your knowledge of the truth and meaning found in the word/s He gave to you in the year ahead.

Pray through the word and the deeper meaning He reveals to you regarding it, and ask Him to seal that word upon your heart so that you don’t miss anything that He longs to teach and impress upon you.

Act Upon What Jesus Tells You

And once you know what He desires, be faithful to do it! As the One Who created you, Who knows you best and loves you most, you can trust that whatever God speaks to you and desires for you to do is for your good! So, for instance, if He’s spoken the word ‘forgive’, forgive the person you’ve not forgiven. And if the Holy Spirit leads you and it’s possible, go to that person and let them know that you have forgiven them. If you say, I can’t forgive him/her, ask Jesus to give you His heart for the person and the power to forgive them, as He has so graciously forgiven you.

Jesus longs for us not only to experience eternal life with Him, but also abundant life through Him. Obeying the word given to you by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will lead to your lying down in green pastures, being beside still waters, to restoration of your soul, and to being on the path of righteousness, for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3) For example, I intend to and pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit in me that I will be found faithful to be His devoted disciple in the year ahead, and to faithfully disciple others. In acting on the word He’s given to me, I know my life will be more abundantly blessed, for God always has my best in mind!

Remember, God’s Word is Life-Changing!

Have you ever heard a word from a godly friend and afterward thought, “That was a word I really needed to hear!” Yes, it can be good for our soul to hear a word spoken to us from godly friends. But it can be life-changing for us to hear God speak His word to us! Just as God spoke in the beginning and brought forth creation by the power of His word, He can speak to you today a word that will bring forth life into your soul and change the direction of your life! God’s word to you can be life-changing! His word is life-giving! 

Think of the word He spoke to Noah. To Abraham. To Moses. To Job. To Zechariah. To Mary. To Joseph. Those are just a few people whose lives were forever altered due to God’s word spoken to them. And He longs to speak to you too, and He will do it if you seek Him and His word for you.

His Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light to your path, and He longs to lead and counsel so that you can experience the life He created you to have! (Psalm 119:105)

Jesus taught us how important it is for our life that we hear and heed what God has to say to us. More important than the physical bread we eat is the Living Bread of God’s Word spoken to us.

“…’It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 ESV

May the year ahead be one in which you resolve to seek to hear God speak to you His word for you; to hear His voice more clearly than you ever have before; and may you be found faithful to obey what He says to you, for it will indeed produce a fountain of life for you in the year ahead! (Proverbs 10:11)


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