How Should Christians Make New Year's Resolutions for 2017?
By Elsie Hu, January 04, 2017 02:01 AM
A new year represents a fresh start. We regret something when reviewing the past 2016: some things we wanted to do were undone and our efforts to success eventually failed... Regardless of regret or failure, everything has already passed.
We summarize the experiences and lessons in 2016 and make a new plan for 2017. Some Christians may claim that it's secular to make New Year's resolutions since their plans are in the hands of God.
Rev. Liu from Shandong states, "God has his plan to lead people whereas men need their own schedule." He adds, "We don't know God's plan that heads in the general direction. But men's resolutions can start from an individual perspective. For instance, how much you read the Bible and how many people you reach in 2017; what progress you want to have in spiritual life... These resolutions can be personal and also related to the Lord."
"Everyone's plan differs. Some may focus on faith and personal life while others emphasize on family and marriage... Once you make a plan, you will see the fruits as long as you stick to it with determination and endurance." The pastor claims.
Make resolutions according to your capacity and quantify them
Sister Xia from Beijing tells CCD that a yearly plan matters, the intermediate link between a long-term goal and things to be done at present. However, many people are blind to it and instead, look at long-term planning.
So she suggests that Christians can quantify their new year's resolutions in several aspects: spirituality, health, career, and finance... Moreover, make it being able to be tracked, and check the completed percentage every three months then see if any adjustment needed. Of course, keep in mind that the goals should be set according to your capacity.
Rev. Piao from northeast China holds that there should be a difference between the new year's plan of Christians and of non-Christians. Quantify your goals from the below six points:
1. Have a Bible reading plan.
"How I am going to read the Bible during the year? How to get guidance, help, and revelation from God's word?" These require specific plans. The pastor believes that reading the Bible is essential to a Christian who receives strength from the word of God.
2. Have a plan for ministry.
The workplace, church and home are places to minister. "Plan how to overcome the current circumstances and your career, family as well as church can develop better. Make some attainable plans from your perspective."
3. Plan to do charity.
The pastor reminds, "(Doing charity) within your reach. Some may (do) big (charity) work while some contribute small efforts, even some deeds are insignificant in others' eyes. But doing is better than 'only ideas' and 'ideas' better than 'no idea.' "The perfect state is "carrying out deeds along with ideas".
4. Never ignore your dream.
Everyone has his dream. Have plans for your career and other things, including wealth. For example, how much money do you want to make in the new year? How to change the reality of the situation? How to manage money?
5. Make plans according to your gift.
Those who are good at writing can plan to produce articles beneficial to society and readers and good speakers can plan how many people they will evangelize to in 2017.
6. Christians should plan how to bear fruit.
Rev. Liu speaks, "How to preach the gospel to others? How to bear the fruit of evangelism? Such a plan is needed."
What's more, for one thing, Christians should pray to seek guidance from God; for another thing, they shall see fruits after their deeds.
The church helps believers with their plans
Some personal plans may slow down and stagnate after the first some months in the new year, affected by your life, work, society or schedule. Rev. Li from Hubei says, "It's not easy to complete the new year's resolutions for a Christian alone. It requires persistence, endurance, and perseverance... The church can help those who can't finish goals themselves."
Rev. Li states that there is a fellowship in his church in the last day of each year, in which believers gather to review grace in the past year and reflect on the things they don't do well and communicate with each other. Then a new plan for the next year will be made.
He mentions that few people stick to their plans throughout the years, so the church can provide assistance to them. "(Like) fellowships lead believers to read the Bible at certain o'clock or at some time after work. They read several chapters and pray together after that if there is time." Rev. Li advises that the church can help believers in several aspects, for instance, different levels of classes can be arranged based on their faith stages and different positions can be provided according to their gifts.
He also says that Bible reading and praying are the priority in the new year's resolutions of Christians who should put in time and energy on God's word. The church can help some believers fulfill their plans. His church organizes believers to read three chapters of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament.
With regard to listing new year's plans, he regards "evangelism" as a significant part. To practice this, believers can preach the gospel and give testimonies at weekends and on holidays, or help others and do some cleaning in real action.
Above all, the most important thing to "equip yourself with truth in 2017" and let God's word be your strength.
Add prayer and action to your resolutions
Sister Liu from Suzhou gives her opinion that Christians should examine what they did, got and lacked in the last year before making resolutions. Besides, plans should be based on individuals.
In the end, add prayer and action to your plan. "Prayer is to seek God's guidance that helps us stick to this plan with perseverance." You hardly finish plans without prayer. Even with God's help, plans remain "projects" if people take no action.
Translated by: Karen Luo
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