Every January we hear a seemingly endless amount of chatter concerning new year resolutions. This seems to come from a place of recognition that most of us are squandering the good things we have in our lives, even if it’s not expressed in so many words. As followers of Jesus, we too are not immune to falling headlong into the consumerism that can cripple our joy and enslave us to materialism.
Resolving For Something Better
This year I was reminded of the Apostle Paul’s admonishment to Timothy to resolve not just for good things, but for the things of God. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says,
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Clearly, resolving to improved physical health, as many do this time of year, is a good thing. We’ve been given these bodies to glorify God with, and we do that best when we’re healthy. Yet, Paul’s words also make clear an even truer reality that our Spiritual health is of utmost importance. Where our bodies will join the dust of the earth one day, our Spirits were created to dwell eternally with the Lord. 13th Century Mystic, Mecthild of Magdeburg, expresses well this beautiful truth in one of her meditative writings,
“I who am Divine am truly in you.
I can never be sundered from you:
However far we be parted, never can we be separated.
I am in you and you are in Me.
We could not be any closer.
We two are fused into one, poured into a single mold.
Thus, unwearied, we shall remain forever.”
Resolving to pursue the things that the presence of God offers us is the best choice we can make in this new year. Not because Jesus is a self-help guru who will teach us to appreciate ourselves and have more happiness in the day to day, but because he is the source and wellspring of life and truth, and without him we are dead and lost. Here at the CYN, we want to encourage you to make a resolution that will help you experience the presence and power of God, and submit to his will in each day. What better way to leave behind “godless myths and old wives’ tales” (or perhaps too much TV and Facebook…) than to commit to reading through the Bible this year? To help you out we’ve compiled the following tips and links to great, free resources!
- Share your goal – Getting encouragement and accountability from your mentor or mentoree, spouse, friend, or Corps Officer will make an incredible difference in keeping you committed, as well as excited, giving you opportunities to testify to the ways that God will use his Word to make you more into his image.
- Set a gameplan – Sitting down and opening to Genesis 1:1 might not be the best option. Choose a plan that mixes Old & New Testament readings in each day, or sign up for a subscription that will send your daily reading to your email inbox each morning. Find a plan that appeals to you and dive in.
- Set it apart – This goes hand in hand with having a good gameplan. You wouldn’t expect to get much from an earthly relationship where you didn’t invest regular, specially scheduled time together. Pick a specific time and place that you can set apart for your Bible reading and try to devote that to God as many days as you are able. It might mean getting up earlier or giving up an evening activity, but you will never regret “wasting time with God.”
- Set periodic checkpoints – This was by far one of the best tips I discovered. Everybody gets behind sooner or later, a great tip for staying on track over the long haul is to resolve to be caught up by the end of each week or each month. It might mean you skip the rerun marathon and plow through the end of Leviticus on February 28, but will that be something you end up regretting? I think not.
- YouVersion.com – Sign up for one of the hundreds of reading plans available through youversion.com (or if you have a smartphone, their mobile Bible app). Set daily reminders, read on the go, sync your progress between multiple devices, and choose from dozens of translations and languages.
- Family Matters – This Bible in a year plan gives you the option of having your daily reading emailed to you, forcing you to either read it or let your inbox pile up…
- Reflect: Psalm 119 – Designed to walk you through an engaging Bible in a year program as a community, this great resource from Tyndale House Publishers is perfect for small groups, spouses or friends reading together, and even your whole Corps congregation or youth group.
- How do you currently approach Bible study in your personal life? How do you encourage and model a love for Scripture with your young people?
- Have you ever tried a Bible in a year program before? How’d it go?
- What other ways are you resolving for something better in your Spiritual life this year?