In a survey conducted by National Public Radio and The Marist Poll (a national public opinion poll) in November 2018, almost half of all American adults planned to make New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year of 2019. Not surprisingly the most popular resolution was to get more involved with physical exercise. An analysis from Strava (a social fitness network) found that those who make such resolutions for working out more, usually abandon them as early as mid-January!
Whether the resolution is to exercise more or something else, we all know the annual struggle of making New Year’s Resolutions and then breaking them far sooner than we care to admit. Have you already broken yours?
I’m not saying!
If you’re like the other half of America not referenced in the aforementioned poll, you have made no New Year’s Resolutions to date. Maybe that is because you don’t want the pain of making and then breaking them or perhaps you simply don’t think it is worth your while.
Well, regardless of the reason, let me suggest three New Year’s Resolutions you need to make for your own benefit and for that of MSBC. You need to resolve in 2020 to accomplish the mission statement of MSBC which in sum is to Touch God, Transform Lives, and Take Risks!
At MSBC to Touch God is to worship Him. Even though we can never physically touch God, we are to strive continually to connect with Him emotionally and through the Spirit. In Matt. 22:37-38 Jesus tells us how we can do this when He instructs us to “‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
We individually Touch God in worship daily as we express and demonstrate love to Him, to Christ-followers, and to the unbelieving through our attitudes, actions and words. We Touch God corporately when we gather as a church body to express our love to Him in music, song, and through obedient commitment to His Word. Once God has touched us and brought us into a relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, we are to strive to Touch Him.
Let your first prayerful New Year’s Resolution be: “Lord, help me to touch you in worship in fresh new ways in this New Year.”
Resolve also for this New Year to Transform Lives. Desire to help others change to become better versions of themselves for Christ, but particularly aim at transforming your own life more and more into the image of Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 12:2). Eph. 4:13 says we are to be built up in the Christian faith “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” As we grow in our faith and relationship with Jesus Christ, we mature, change, and transform to be more like Him. We do this through times of personal prayer and Bible study but also as we connect with others in small groups for fellowship and in group Bible study for discipleship. We also do this as we discover and deploy our spiritual gifts in serving others in the church body.
Let your second prayerful New Year’s Resolution be: “Lord, help me to change and transform into the image of your Son as I engage you in regular Bible study, as I connect with others in close fellowship, and as I serve you as I serve others in 2020.”
There are a lot of ways to take risks in life, some ways are foolish, but the best way is to Take Risks for God through relationally and compassionately sharing Jesus Christ locally, nationally, and internationally. The Great Commission in Matt. 28:19-20 instructs us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Sharing our faith evangelistically with others is oftentimes challenging, but the more we touch God in worship and our lives transform through fellowship, discipleship, and service, the more we can be emboldened to do so locally and on short term mission trips.
Let your third prayerful New Year’s Resolution be: “Lord, help me to share you with others this year with conviction, courage, and grace for your glory.”
New Year’s resolutions are often quickly broken because they lack commitment and overlook the big picture of positive gain. But in resolving to Touch God, Transform Lives, and Take Risks, we actually gain commitment as we keep our resolutions, i.e., we become completely committed Christ-followers. And we become a stronger church to boot.
Sounds like New Year’s resolutions worth keeping, don’t you think? So, get to them!