New Year’s Resolutions: Start, Stop, Improve

When people make New Year’s resolutions, they often start with these words – start exercising, stop smoking, improve spending habits, etc. It is good to improve all areas of our lives. But it is particularly important to improve our spiritual lives. In that regard, let us consider some resolutions for the new year.

Start…

Start Your Life in Christ

  • To start your life in Christ, you need to get into Christ – How? … baptism (Romans 6:3-4)
  • Prerequisites – belief (Mark 16:16), repentance (Acts 2:38), confession (Acts 8:36-37)
  • Baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16) and saves us (1 Peter 3:21)

Start Living Like a Christian

  • Sadly, many Christians obey the gospel but continue (or go back to) living like the world (Luke 8:11-15) – in the parable, 3/4 received the word; then 2/3 of those fell away
  • As Christians, we are to be different from the world (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 2:11)
  • Must live in such a way that we can say that Christ is living in us (Galatians 2:20)

Start Being an Active Member of the Local Church

  • When Saul obeyed the gospel and returned to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples (Acts 9:26) – he understood that local church membership was important
  • Responsibilities of membership – assembling (Hebrews 10:24-25), encouraging (Hebrews 3:12-13), teaching (Hebrews 5:12)
  • Much work for the local church to do – it can be done more completely and effectively as more are involved

Stop…

Stop Sinning

  • This is what Paul told the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:34) – too many think that we should simply resign ourselves to the fact that we will sin; we should never think of sin as acceptable/expected
  • We sin when we choose to sin – choose to find the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)
  • Strive to be like God (Matthew 5:48) – when you find sin in your life, remove it (Acts 8:22)

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

  • Again, notice what Paul told the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 10:12) – do not compare yourself to others as a way to justify yourself or look down on them
  • Being “better” than others will not save us – the Pharisees thought it would (Luke 18:9-12); they were wrong (Matthew 5:20)
  • Our standard is not others, but the word of God (John 12:48) – it is easy to compare ourselves to worldly people or lukewarm Christians; compare yourself with Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-22)

Stop Serving Idols

  • John’s final warning in his first epistle (1 John 5:21)
  • Idols are not necessarily graven images (Exodus 20:4) – anything we place before God is an idol (Colossians 3:5)
  • We must be sure our priorities are in order (Matthew 6:33,24) – serve God wholeheartedly

Improve…

Improve Your Knowledge of God’s Word

  • We are expected to grow in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18)
  • This will not happen by accident, but by diligent study (2 Timothy 2:15)

Improve Your Ability to Teach

  • The Hebrew Christians were rebuked for lacking the ability to teach (Hebrews 5:12) – goal of knowledge is not just to help us obey, but also to equip us to teach
  • Not all should devote themselves to the public proclamation of the word (James 3:1) – but all should prepare to answer (1 Peter 3:15)

Improve Your Practice of Prayer

  • On this point, we typically think of devoting more time – nothing wrong with this (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
  • We should also strive to improve the quality of our prayers – in faith (James 1:6); according to His will (1 John 5:14-15; Matthew 26:39)

Read the article: New Year’s Resolutions: Start, Stop, Improve


When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Government, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.