It’s the start of a brand new year. For many of us, that means it’s time to participate in the annual ritual of setting goals and making resolutions for the year to come.
For January 1st, did you resolve to lose weight, exercise more, take charge of your finances, learn a new skill, or pursue a new hobby? If so, you’re not alone!
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 68% of Americans participate in the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions in some way, shape or form. By the end of January, however, 1 in 3 Americans have abandoned their goals! Ultimately, only 8% of the individuals who make New Year’s Resolutions successfully achieve them.
Perhaps that explains why 38% of the American population never bothers to make any New Year’s resolutions at all!
If you’re thinking there’s got to be a better way to achieve success in the New Year, you’re right!
The good news is that you’ll find the secrets to successful planning for changing your life for the better at your fingertips – right inside of your Bible.
The Bible Holds The Keys To Living A Successful Life
Have you ever wondered where the big dreams that are bursting inside of your spirit come from? You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re the dreams that you can’t get out of your head. They’re the dreams that you’re ready to commit to paper – the ones that you’re willing to pursue until they become a reality.
Chances are, if you are a child of God who is walking with God, those dreams come from God!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
God uniquely creates us with special gifts to use for His purpose, to advance His kingdom!
God directs us to write our visions down (Habakkuk 2:2). God also encourages us to persevere until we achieve our goals (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The key is, we need to prayerfully include God in each step of our planning process. No matter how big we dream, God’s thoughts are always higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. – John 10:27
We need to listen as God guides us through life so that we can accomplish the purposes He has envisioned for us before He laid the foundations for the world (Ephesians 1:4-5, 2 Timothy 1:9).
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Whatever it is we pursue in life, when God is with us – when our plans align with God’s – we will succeed (Genesis 39:2)!
When is the last time you consulted God and asked Him to guide you in your resolution-making process?
When you sit before your calendar to plan your days, weeks, months and year, how often do you ask God if the activities you’re involved in are the activities He wants you to pursue?
Set Spiritual Goals
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
There are two reasons that so many of us fail to achieve our New Year’s Resolutions:
- We focus on things that never truly inspired us to begin with.
- We pursue things that God never intended for us to focus our time and attention on!
This year, let’s do things differently. Let’s take Matthew 6:33 to heart. Let’s set spiritual goals that include:
- Deepening our relationship with God.
- Learning more about God – who He is, His attributes and His character, and who we are in relationship to Him.
- Increasing our sensitivity to hearing God’s voice and obeying His Word.
- Praying for an increased capacity to trust God and follow where He leads.
- Striving to grow, emulate, and be more like Jesus with each passing day.
Let’s measure our successes not by worldly standards, but by God’s daily blessings.
Let’s align our goals, resolutions and plans with God’s Holy Word.
Teach Your Children To Dream Big, Too!
Sharing God’s love and God’s plans with the children God has placed in our lives is one of our greatest privileges as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers and mentors. As we kick off the New Year, I’d like to share four fabulous resources from Zonderkidz that will help you teach the Biblical principles we’ve been sharing to your children!
The Big Dreams Big Prayers Bible For Kids – NIV is an “adult” Bible with special features that make it perfect for 8 to 12 year old children! This attractively-designed Bible contains colorful help pages that will teach your children how to use their Bibles – devotions about people who prayed and listened to God – pages for your children to record their prayers – and more!
The Plans I Have For You – Devotional and The Plans I Have For You Journal by Amy Parker (illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton) are inspiring companion books for 8 to 12 year olds. The devotional helps children understand how God uses their unique gifts to spread His love and make the world a better place, while the journal uses creative prompts to help children apply the concepts they are learning to their lives.
How would your child feel if he or she received a personal letter from God? That’s the experience that author Glenys Nellist and illustrator Sophie Allsopp have created for your young children in Little Love Letters From God Bible Stories – an interactive, Lift-The-Flap board book that introduces children to eight Bible stories and provides them with the opportunity to open and read eight special, encouraging love letters from God!
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Do you currently make traditional New Year’s Resolutions? Why or why not? Have you ever been in a situation in which you trusted God and focused on spiritual priorities, then experienced first-hand how He took care of your pressing needs? Please share your thoughts in the comments!