Since I have been a Christian, my resolution for the upcoming new year has largely been the same. With 2017 quickly approaching, let me explain.
As December ends and January begins I find one desire growing in me: to know God better this year than last. I want to be able to say at the end of 2017, that I know God better than I did in 2016. I want to be closer to Him, I want to talk to Him more and in a more intimate way, I want to know His Word more, I want to feel His joy more, I want to be more like Him, and most of all I want to love Him more than I did in the previous year.
How will all this be accomplished? I could make a bunch of resolutions to do it. For example I could make resolutions to read more, to pray more, to fast more, to rebuke more, to evangelize more, etc. Those are not bad resolutions, but they are all ‘fruit’ issues. Rather than doing any of these I want my resolution to get at the ‘root’ of my soul. Thus in 2017 I want to: 1) seek a deeper and holier life, and 2) seek the Word of God more, all with the aim of 3) treasuring the gospel more.
You see, if I treasure the gospel more this year than last, all of those things I listed will happen. If I do not treasure the gospel more this year than last those things will likely decrease. So instead of going at specific ‘fruit’ issues, I want more heart work being done, more ‘root’ issues.
Where do I get this in the Bible? Titus 2:11-12, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” I may be godly if concentrate on reading the Bible more. I may be godly if I make it my aim to share the gospel with every person I meet. I may become more godly if I try to ‘do’ more things. But the only sure way you and I will become more godly, is by reflecting on the gospel; because it is the gospel, the grace of God that has appeared, that teaches us, or instructs us to live godly in this present age.
Titus 3 also shows this. In chapter 3 Paul gloriously describes the gospel in verses 3-7. Then in verse 8 he says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” When Paul says ‘these things’ he means the gospel that he described in verses 3-7. Then in v8 he asks a question: What is it that causes believers to carefully engage in good deeds? What is it that is good and profitable for men? The gospel.
When believers treasure the gospel, good deeds flow forth in abundance.
So my resolution this year, is the same as last year, and will most likely be the same as each new year comes that God wills to bring us. I want to treasure the gospel more, so that I grow more. When I grow more, I know God more. When I know God more, I love God more. When I love God more, I will love what God loves. What does God love? Two things: His glory and His Church. When I love His glory and His Church more, I’ll be more useful to for His glory within His Church, and my soul will be filled with infinite pleasure and delight.
So my desires for this new year are aimed at the increasing of my joy in Jesus, above all things. Will you join me this year in this glorious pursuit in 2017?