For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11

Do you have your list of New Year’s resolutions yet? Everyone has at least one thing they want to change about themselves. Most people attempt change at the beginning of a year. It could be losing weight, quitting smoking, or finishing a degree. Some will even try to gain more peace and self-control. Getting a grip on things like worry or a short temper are great as well.

Many will start new things January 1st but few will follow through with them. Health clubs love this time of year. But are you resolved to make a change or is it just another “good idea” that will never come to pass? Resolution means determination and strong will. It is having boldness, courage, and fortitude. It is being relentless and dedicated. Some have good intentions but “bite off more than they can actually chew.” I encourage you to progressively make changes in your life. Start small and gradually increase in the area you would like to see changed in your life. Find people who can hold you accountable in your endeavors. Whatever good habits you attempt to form, do not neglect the spiritual ones. These are the most important and can help fuel all the others.

Only God knows what 2012 has in store for you. He has great plans for you! His thoughts are of great peace, a good future, and guaranteed hope (Jeremiah 29:11). We cannot be scared of the unknown when we serve a known God (Corrie Ten Boom). Trust in God this year. No matter what happens, keep your eyes focused on Christ (Hebrews 12:2). If you do that, 2012 will be successful for you even if things do not go as you had planned.

I challenge you to grow spiritually this year. Start going to church. Begin praying about everything you encounter. Find Scriptures that deal with your situations and apply them. Discipleship is about regularly and steadily growing in Christ. Developing spiritually is done little by little, bit by bit, and step by step. It is about an unhurried and continuous progress in the Lord. Now is a great time to resolve to grow closer to Jesus Christ. Here are some resolutions of Jonathan Edwards that I believe will help you this next year.

(1) I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration. (2) I will do whatever I think to be my duty for the good and advantage of mankind. (3) I will not lose one moment of time but improve in the most profitable way I possibly can. (4) I will live with all my might while I do live. (5) I will never to do anything that I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. (6) I will never speak evil of any one. (7) I will study the Scriptures steadily, constantly, and frequently so I may grow in the knowledge of the Lord.

Stephen Harrison is associate pastor of Family Church at White Hall.

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