A "new" year! It feels like a fresh start, a second chance. The time will come shortly with the dark, short days will become longer. The warmth of the sun will return again. We look back at the previous year, and perhaps we make commitments on what we will do better this year.
This is one of many opportunities to humbly and prayerfully evaluate ourselves. Of course it is not the only time. Scripture reminds us in 1 Corinthians 11 that when we partake of communion, we are to examine ourselves. Nevertheless, the new year is typically a time many examine themselves and make "New Year's Resolutions." Some of the more common ones include things such as losing weight, stop smoking, spend more time with family, manage your money better, etc.
As a Christian, we may add things such as reading the Bible through this year, praying more on a regular basis, devoting ourselves more to the work of the Lord in some way, being more compassionate and kind, serving others in the name of Christ, reconciling with a brother or sister in Christ, being more of an encouragement, having a more godly attitude about things, to increase in love for others as Christ did, etc. Certainly these sorts of things and others like them are things we all need to excel at.
If you are one who makes resolutions at the new year, consider the principles found in James 4:13-16. It says,
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.' But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil" (Jas 4:13-16).
So, when making plans or decisions, the first consideration should always be the will of God. It should shape every decision and plan you make. Keeping this in mind, here are some additional biblical passages to consider in making any kind of resolutions.
"... for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come" (1 Tim 4:8).
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5).
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (Jas 1:5).
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil" (Prov 3:5-7).