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“Does the Bible say anything about making New Year’s resolutions?”— Kay
No. New Year’s resolutions are a relatively recent cultural accoutrement. The impulse to make resolutions however, runs deep, reflecting a truly human penchant for wanting to “put things right.” The concomitant change in a calendar year somehow seems to connote the opportunity for a fresh start — we are drawn to the possibilities of doing things differently, hopefully better.
The Bible does talk about new beginnings. Much of the biblical message in fact, holds that people who follow God actually become new people, set on a journey of transformation and change.
Jesus told a seeker that he needed to be “born again” — that he could only see “the kingdom of God” if he were re-birthed by the Spirit of God (Jn. 3:3ff).
Paul wrote that we are being transformed (literally “metamorphosing”) by the spirit of God in us (II Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29ff). This metamorphosis is spiritual in nature but has direct implications for ethical behavior and character development. Paul also referred to the ultimate new beginning: one day Christ-followers will exchange mortality for immortality (I Cor. 15:50ff).
Need some “resolutions” ideas? Forgive as God has forgiven you in Christ (Mt. 6:14-15; 18:21-35; Eph. 4:32). Pursue peace with all men (Rom. 12:18; 14:19). Seek reconciliation with others, bearing the message that God has reconciled us to Himself (II Cor. 5:18-19). Allow the grace of God to enable you to “walk in good works” (Eph. 2:10).
Here is the point: Christianity is not at heart political, legalistic, pushy, mean-spirited or judgmental. Authentic Christianity reflects the humility, grace, care and concern of Christ for all people of all stations and stages of life. If we find ourselves acting out more of the former and less of the latter, this year may be just the time for some resolve to be different.
To send questions or to communicate with Pastor McCullough,
write to firstname.lastname@example.org.