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By: James River Church12/28/17

7 Simple New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are an important first step to creating real, lasting change.

Of the over 133 million Americans who will make New Year’s resolutions in 2018, less than 10% will keep them.

Although resolutions do not create the change, they do allow us to have a goal. When we combine that goal with action and persistence, our lives can be transformed. Unfortunately, of the over 133 million Americans who will make New Year’s resolutions in 2018, less than 10% will keep them.

Noticing the existence of this trend, we have decided to create seven simple resolutions that we believe can both improve your life and the life of the Church. We’ve created a list of some actionable steps and resources that you can use throughout the year to achieve your goals.

1. Find Community

In his book titled The One Thing, author Gary Keller poses a question to the reader, “What’s the ONE thing you can do, such that by doing it, everything else will be easier?

Surrounding yourself with a community of believers who will encourage and challenge you could be the “One Thing” that helps you to achieve all of your other New Year’s resolutions.

The writer of Hebrews understood the importance of community and writes this in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”

Authentic community helps us stay true to what we say and reminds us that we are not alone. One of the best ways to find great community is to get connected with a local church. Church Finder is an easy-to-use tool that will help you find a church home in your area.

2. Improve Financial Health

According to a study done by iQuanti, Google search terms relating to “Spend Less/Save More” are among the most popular every single year.

As a nation, we are infatuated with improving our financial lives. Yet, despite access to more resources than ever, if credit-card debt is any indication of our fiscal health, we are very ill. According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. households collectively have more than $1 trillion in credit-card debt, which is the most ever in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, one reason for so much debt is a lack of planning on our part.

Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”

When we partner with God and understand that we are stewarding resources He’s given us, the drive to be responsible spenders becomes great.

For 2018, we want to help you budget and plan for the upcoming year by pointing you to some great financial resources. Dave Ramsey has a great budget planner to help you create an accurate budget. Mint is a mobile app that will help you effortlessly stay on top of bills.

3. Reduce the Noise

One of the sentiments often heard among Christians is, “I wish I had a closer relationship with God.”

Although God desires to have a better relationship with us, it does take action on our part.

This is something many people strive for. In fact, a big reason (if not the biggest reason) for attending church, spending time in prayer, delving into the Bible, and enjoying fellowship is so that we develop a more intimate relationship with God.

Although God desires to have a better relationship with us, it does take action on our part.

Matthew 6:33 urges us to “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We must remember that the word ‘seek’ is a verb, and therefore requires action.

In today’s fast-paced society, where it seems like everyone and everything is begging for our attention, reducing the noise, combined with prayer, fasting, and study will take effort. But, it is worth it.

One of the best ways to focus your heart on God and to grow in your relationship with Him is through a daily devotion. Spending time with God on a daily basis will have a great impact on your spiritual walk with the Lord. Pastor Rick Warren’s online devotional, Daily Hope, will be a great way for you to get into the habit of doing a daily devotional.

4. Commit to Reading the Bible

In his book Of God and Men, A.W. Tozer writes, “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

As Christians, we base not just our lives, but our eternities on the Bible. Much of who we are is formed around the words that make up this great book that is, “alive and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” as described in Hebrews 4:12.

If we desire to know more of God, to experience a more intimate relationship with him in this new year, then we must learn from Him.

Fortunately for us, understanding more of God can often be as simple as opening His Word.

If you’d like to know more about God, we want to help. We’ve created a list of Bible plans for you to follow in 2018 to help you start the year off strong.

5. Discover Your Purpose

In “The Purpose Driven Life”, Rick Warren states that, “If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”

If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.

Whether it was when you graduated high school and had no idea what would come next, or when you finally retired and had years of blank space ahead of you, all of us have had moments of uncertainty in our lives.

Purpose is the rudder of our ship called life that helps guide all of our decisions.

A great way to begin discovering your purpose is by taking the DISC Personality Assessment. This personality test will help you better understand how God has created you. After you discover your strengths, try to find ways to use the gifts God has given you to serve your local church!

6. Improve Physical Health

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Undoubtedly, the most common New Year’s resolution in 2018 will be to improve physical health. Every year, this same resolution crops up and is why you see workout facilities crowded and health food stores overflowing in January. Unfortunately, these same places are often left desolate in February.

As Christians, we are called to seek both spiritual and physical well-being.

To assist you in improving your diet this year, we’ve created a list of foods with the top 10 highest ANDI scores for each category. This list will be very helpful in making quick and healthy choices while grocery shopping.

In addition to the food list above, many choose to partake in a 21-Day Daniel Fast. To find more information on the fast, including a food list, prayer list, as well as a daily devotional, visit our Daniel Fast page.

7. Give & Receive Grace

Okay, so we have discussed several New Year’s resolutions, but this may be the most important of them all.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul writes, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Rather than expecting perfection, focus on doing your very best.

Although we don’t wish that anyone fail, the fact of the matter is pretty much all of us will have off days. There will be times we forget to read our Bible, times we veer from our budget, and times we eat food with the complete opposite nutrients that we initially planned for.

Rather than expecting perfection, focus on doing your very best. And when your very best doesn’t seem to measure up, God’s will. Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us that “the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

The start of a new year offers so much promise and potential. We hope that this New Year’s resolution list, as well as the accompanying resources, will help to make 2018 the best year yet.

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