I don’t know you. I don’t know if you’re the type of person who makes resolutions or not. And it’s not my desire to debate whether or not Christians should make resolutions. In general, there’s no harm in this, and it is actually quite biblical to think about where one is in his or her walk with the Lord (2 Peter 1:10), and then to adjust accordingly.
Therefore, I have a few resolutions that I would make for you if I could. Perhaps you are already mastering all of what I am about to suggest. More often than not, however, I think too many Christians are struggling in each area I will mention. There is certainly more I could have mentioned, but I think if every Christian focused on these three areas in the coming year, we might see some drastic changes taking place in our churches.
Here we go:
Love for Scripture
I don’t mean agreeing that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of the living God. I definitely hope you do believe that. But believing that and loving the Bible aren’t always the same thing. Love the Bible more than you love looking up stats for your favorite sports team. Love the Bible more than your favorite show. Treat the Bible as though it really is the word of the living God, and that it is all authoritative and wholly sufficient for your walk with Christ.
And Christians who truly love the Scriptures find that other things in their life will begin to change too. I could have mentioned “holiness” and “prayer” as good new year’s resolutions. But what you’ll see is that these things begin to flow out of a life that loves the Bible. Saturate yourself in the Scriptures. Love them. Know them. Let them point you to Christ every single day. Read the Bible by yourself, with your family, with your small group, with your co-workers, and with anyone else who might be willing to read it with you. The life-transforming power of God’s word cannot be overestimated.
Commitment to the Local Church
The church is not a building. It’s the Body of Christ. The local church and Christianity go together like a heartbeat and a pulse. You don’t have one without the other. You don’t have New Testament Christianity apart from the local church.
The local church is not a building but it often does meet in a building. That building may be a traditional looking church, a home, a rented facility, etc. But if the local church meets regularly somewhere you should meet with them too. “Every time the doors are open” as they say. Commit to the local church full scale.
I’m not arguing that you have to be involved in every ministry or every committee or every event. But if your church meets regularly on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday nights go to all of it. Be committed to small groups or Sunday school. Invest your life and the life of your family in the local church. I understand that other things will have to take a back seat if you are committed like that. Guess what? It’ll be worth it.
Beyond that, seek to cultivate and develop relationships outside of the time of regular gatherings. Quit dividing your “church life” from the rest of your life. As much as you can, blend those two areas. Enjoy your church family. Go bowling with them. Invite them over for supper. Go evangelizing together. Go serve together. Don’t wait for your pastors to schedule something in order for you to spend time with your church family. Make it a habit.
Glorying in the Triune God
Jonathan Edwards famously gave the illustration of the difference between intellectually knowing that honey is sweet and actually tasting it. In this illustration, the honey is God in all of His splendor and holiness. Don’t merely know that God is holy, righteous, just, sovereign, and good. Glory in it. That is — love it, live for it, rest in it, and adore it.
Oh that the Saints of God would know Him as He has shown Himself in His Word (John 17:3)! Quit treating Christianity as something to endure, and instead delight yourself in the Lord. Taste and see that He is good. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Contemplate God’s attributes. Search the Scriptures to know God more deeply. Refuse to accept the “basic” understanding of God that so permeates many churches. Make it your life quest to know Him better every single day. In the Godhead are infinite riches for our delight and discovery. The things that you chase to satisfy you are incomparable to the satisfaction and joy we find in God through Christ.
This will also mean knowing the gospel more fully and deeply. Dig deep into what God has done in Christ to rescue us. Consider even His eternal decrees to rescue a people for Himself. Rest in the atoning work of Christ, the Lamb slain for sinners. Marvel at His victory and impending return. You will find that expanding your heart and mind to glory more in the triune God of the universe will affect everything about your life. This is not a job for professional theologians. This is the duty and delight of every true believer.
We don’t know what lies ahead in the coming year. But we do know that there are always things about our lives to change. We are dependent on the Holy Spirit to shape and fashion us evermore into the likeness of Christ. But as He works in us, will you choose to improve upon the things above? And perhaps, the Lord will grow you in ways you never imagined. You won’t regret it.