“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”— Proverbs 16:3 (NIV).
How many of us make New Year’s resolutions but fail to follow through? We resolve to lose weight and get healthy.
We promise ourselves we’ll pay off debt and save money. We plan to give up habits detrimental to our well-being. Most of the time, most of us don’t accomplish what we yearn to do.
Why do we begin a New Year full of hope and promise, only to fall back on old habits and ways of thinking? Is it because we’re trying to accomplish our goals without the help of the One who has our best interests at heart?
Instead of resolutions, what if we made commitments? What would that look like for each of us? What if we saw ourselves through the eyes of God’s Holy Word? Would that make a difference?
What if our first commitment was to grow spiritually? Would that lead to healthier physical and fiscal habits? Would we drop pounds and fatten our bank accounts so we were physically and fiscally able to help others?
In the “Eight Laws for Spiritual Growth,” teaching pastor Tom Holladay offers the following help:
1. Spiritual growth is intentional. We must commit to reading and studying the Bible, participating in study groups, seeking out mentors, attending church services on a regular basis and focusing on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Spiritual growth is not accidental.
2. Spiritual growth is incremental. Just as we grow physically with age, we mature spiritually by taking baby steps.
3. Spiritual growth is personal. We can’t compare ourselves to others. “There is no one-size-fits-all for spiritual growth,” Holladay says.
4. Spiritual growth is practical. To be a disciple of Jesus, we must embrace the spiritual disciplines listed in number one.
5. Spiritual growth is relational. We only grow in community with others. In Hebrews 10:24-25, Paul writes, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another… (NLT).”
6. Spiritual growth is multi-dimensional. “We are to grow warmer through fellowship, deeper through discipleship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry, and larger through mission,” he says.
7. Spiritual growth is seasonal. “Nobody grows at a constant pace all the time. Plants don’t grow constantly; they grow in spring and summer and then are dormant in fall and winter,” Holladay explains.
8. Spiritual growth is incarnational. “The final truth,” he adds, “is that growth is not about what you can accomplish; rather, it’s about the person of Jesus Christ living inside you.”
Galatians 2:20 says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Instead of making resolutions in 2018, make commitments. Write Proverbs 16:3 on an index card and post it in a prominent place as a reminder.
Round is a transplanted Okie, originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who now resides in Grove. In addition to writing a weekly faith-based column, “A Matter of Faith,” Round spends time with her grandchildren, shooting photos, hiking, working in her yard, reading and studying the Word, volunteering at her church and going on mission trips. For more information, or to contact Round, persons interested may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.