As the New Year starts, many people commit to start new habits, resolutions, and to make lasting changes in their lives. Depending on who you ask, they say it takes 3-8 weeks of consistent, daily practice to start new habits. So, if you have been going with something new for a week, that’s a good start. Often something will come along and try to disrupt that habit and the question then is whether or not you have enough persistence to overcome and continue, or you become discouraged and give it up. I’m not one to normally start a new resolution every year, but there are some changes I want to make in my life, namely more consistent opportunities to do a couple things I enjoy (exercise and reading), but don’t make time for anymore. Its usually best to have some concrete steps and a plan, and some sort of accountability to help you reach new goals, but sometimes we just want to jump into something hoping it will be easy, but knowing it will be a challenge. The older you get, the more difficult it seems to be to change old habits or start new ones. What changes do you feel compelled to make in your life?
For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:18-19
This verse often reminds me that we all have struggles to varying degrees in our knowledge to do what we should versus always following through in our actions. Making changes to our daily habits does not really come natural to most of us. We all tend to do what we are naturally wired to do, how we were raised, and toward the unique dispositions we were given, whether our choice or not. Most New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on things that we think we could or should control, like our weight and physical appearances, which is part of the reason why sales of exercise equipment and gym memberships peaks about now. What about other areas of change you feel compelled to make? Are there things you would like to do more or less of? There are countless bible reading plans to help your daily routine or just to read through the bible in a year. Are there new things you would like to learn, or things you would like to do more of with your family? You might even consider sitting down with them to make it a group effort with built in support instead of just an individual one.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4
Most of us think about what changes we want to make in our own lives, which is natural, as we tend to think we know our strengths and weaknesses better than most. For a real stretch, ask your spouse or someone who knows you well what changes they think you should be making. Most of us would take this as criticism, but sometimes we need a critical eye in our lives. Dare we even pray and ask God for advice in what changes He would have for us? Also, instead of just thinking about what things we can do to benefit ourselves, what about what we can do for others? Would it even benefit us more to make resolutions about having more conversations with those we rarely talk to, committing to give more regularly to others, or even volunteering in a place outside our comfort zone? Thinking of things you can start doing that will benefit others more than ourselves, may serve you more as well, in the long run. May God give you the knowledge and strength to do the things he calls you to do!
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Your in Christ,
Selfishness vs. selflessness
Pray about what work God wants to do in you.