If you’re like me, you’re done making New Year’s Resolutions.
A couple of years ago, I realized that I’d even stopped actively making resolutions for the New Year, even though I continued to mentally get up nearly every morning with resolutions in mind for that day.
And I still couldn’t keep many of them. Even within a 24-hour window.
This is when my perspective began to change. Instead of making resolutions, I began making goals for myself.
What’s great is that many times these goals went hand-in-hand with my One Word for the year, taking New Year’s Resolutions from a set-up for failure to an opportunity for personal growth.
And I love that – because it moved me from perfection to growth.
3 Goals Every Christian Should Make For the New Year
There are the typical New Year’s Resolutions (and believe it or not, there is a website with statistics for this), eat more healthily, exercise more, get more rest, etc…
but the more I walk with Christ, the more I realize how much of my life is lived for this world.
Here’s what I mean by that:
When you look at church history, you see how Christians lived with a concept of the supernatural and afterlife simultaneously with their present life.
They understood more clearly how their decisions today had spiritual significance.
But the more educated and modern we have become; the more “enlightened” we have become, the less we take into account the supernatural realm and heaven.
So that almost all our life, decisions, desires, wishes, goals, and dreams are centered in the here and now.
The church has fully embraced the concept of “live for today” and “live in the moment”. But is this really how Christians should live?
Jesus taught us to live for eternity!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
What if as Christians our goals looked a lot differently than what typical New Year’s goals or resolutions looked like?
1. Spend more time with Jesus
Here’s what we tend to do when we make a goal to pray more:
“Jesus said, ‘Could you not tarry with me for one hour’ so I need to start spending an hour in prayer each day.”
This is the #1 best way to fail at your goal! First of all, there is no biblical principle or verse in the Bible that commands or even implies that we have to pray for one hour a day.
This concept both discourages and limits you.
It discourages those who have not yet grown to the place where they can effectively spend an hour a day in prayer and limits those who can and should spend more than an hour a day in prayer.
It is far better to spend 15 minutes of earnest and effective prayer than an hour in carrying on about nothing.
The best way to move toward the goal of praying more each day is to weekly increase the amount of time you are spending in prayer.
And don’t forget to spend some of that time in silence, teaching yourself to listen for God’s voice – because He wants to speak to you, too.
2. Get to know God’s Word more
We often make the same mistake with Bible reading as we do with prayer.
Each December and January we receive invitations to read through the Bible in 90 days or a year; and while reading through the Bible from cover to cover is a great habit for Christians to develop, it can become a burden rather than a blessing.
Reading through the Bible isn’t a race to the finish line.
The goal of reading through the entire Bible isn’t so you can say you did it, but it is to get to know God in a deeper way and understand His purpose and plan for our life here on earth.
If we read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and find that we don’t know God any better than when we’ve started, we have failed in our mission.
My advice to those who have just begun to develop a daily Bible reading routine is to read until three things stand out. And stop!
Write those things things down on a slip of paper.
Put that paper in your pocket and carry it around with you all day, occasionally pulling out it throughout the day to remind yourself what God spoke to you through His Word.
You may not read through the Bible in a year – or even five years – but when you eventually get through the entire Bible, you’re life will have been radically changed!
Here is a list of the Bible studies I offer at A Little R & R for deeper study of God’s Word
3. Live more for eternity
One of the greatest things we can do for our spiritual life is to discover ways that we can bring our mind and heart back to focusing on eternity – and not this life.
I remember as a child how my dad taught us to ask ourselves when we were faced with a decision, “How does this matter for eternity?”
This would instantly put the decision into context.
How would our churches be different if we all made a greater effort to live our lives with eternity in mind, and not just the here and now?
I am ready to sit down and start mapping out some personal goals for my spiritual walk with God, because I want to grow in each of these three areas.
What spiritual goals are you making for this New Year?