A common practice that coincides with the start of a new year is the making of new year’s resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is a personal declaration of what one intends to do at the start of a new year in order to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve one’s life. Setting such resolutions can be beneficial because they provide a strategic plan for how you intend to make beneficial changes in the coming year.
Though you will not find any reference to such resolutions in the Bible, you will find that Scripture supports strategic planning when it is nuanced by the will of God. In Proverbs 21:5, Solomon said “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Such a passage indicates that Scripture is not opposed to planning. However, James had to correct some who boasted in their plans. He told them that their mindset ought to be, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). And this passage indicates that Scripture is opposed to any approach to the future that fails to submit to the will of God. You will also find that Scripture presents an expectation of spiritual growth. Whether you are talking about the author of Hebrews criticism of his audience’s failure to move from milk to meat (Hebrews 5:12-6:3) or Peter’s list of qualities that one needs to “add to [his or her] faith” (2 Peter 1:5-7), Scripture is conveying an expectation of spiritual maturity. Since Scripture supports strategic planning that coincides with the will of God and presents an expectation of spiritual growth, I think it is appropriate for us to, at times, set some spiritual goals.
This week you are encouraged to plan for spiritual growth in the coming year by completing the following twelve statements. After completing these statements, store this in a place where you will see it from time to time throughout the year, and let it serve as a reminder of your spiritual goals for 2020. The purpose of doing this is to assist you in “commit[ing] your work to the Lord” so that “your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).