I don’t know about you, but as each day passes in this new year, I’ve been wanting to slow it down already. I feel like I should have accomplished more than I have, but where does the time go? Maybe, like me, you thought you would have your calendar all planned out already, and it’s still empty. Or, you may have projects that you were planning on starting on day one of January, and they are still looming over you. Statistics say that 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions don’t even follow through with them. It’s easy to feel disheartened with all the stress we put on ourselves to be more and do more.
So, how do we start the year off right, and stay true to our resolutions? Here are three sure ways to help us become more productive and keep our resolve.
Stay Plugged In.
If we want to get more done in the coming year and feel more productive, we should start by plugging in to God’s word. Otherwise, we may just be spinning our wheels. God looks at our year in focus, from a different perspective. While we tend to work on our “to-do” list first, His primary focus is on our “to-be” list.
Staying in God’s word matures us so that we are true to our commitments, and genuine in our pursuits. In 2 Pet. 1:5-8 it says, “5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love 8For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.…”. The word for knowledge comes from the Greek word gnosis meaning “known by experience or gained by a direct relationship.” [Strong’s]. So, as we grow in our knowledge of Him, and seek to do God’s will; His guidance will encompass every aspect of our life in 2018 and beyond.
Along with commitment to God’s word, comes devotion in the year ahead. Yes, I think the time is right for us to become more devout as believers. Let’s look at Titus’ exhortation to us in Titus 3:14, “And our people must also learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet the pressing needs of others, so that they will not be unfruitful.…”. In other words, the key to living more productive lives, is by touching others with the gospel and providing care and love to those in need.
Before we move on, let’s examine the word “unfruitful” in this passage. It refers to any works accomplished outside of our decisions based on faith. In James 2:17, putting our faith into action is the driving principle, “So too, faith by itself, if it is not complemented by action, is dead.” Therefore, a fruitful year of harvest is based on our will to be obedient in the days ahead.
Now I know you all will have some pretty lofty goals in the new year. For example, writing a book, running a marathon, or possibly spending 10% of your income on coffee beverages throughout the year–ugh! (not doing too well on that one). Our resolve should be to make S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Real, and Timely) goals for sure; but more importantly, we should have goals that reflect our true devotion to God in being salt and light in the coming year.
Stay With It.
Now we’ve established we’re going to make some meaningful New Year’s resolutions; next, comes the tricky part. We would all like to see our fruitful goals come to fruition, right? So, first try tackling each one day by day in bite-sized bits. For example, I try to write for at least 15 minutes a day, as a songwriter. My goal this year is to write a short Bible study book. So far, by writing each day since the holidays, I’ve written through chapter two, already. So, it really does work! Besides, with distractions and household responsibilities, for me it makes more sense.
Mtt. 7:19 states, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” I have goals for myself, and I’ve accomplished them in the past with songs that I’ve written, but if I keep them to myself, then it’s as if I am throwing them into the fire. So, I have to be willing to put myself out there; no matter how vulnerable it seems. It would definitely be worth it, if one more person accepted Jesus or was encouraged in their faith as a result.
What about you? Are you ready to make 2018 your year to shine? Let’s be a part of bringing God glory, as He leads us into more attainable goals for the new year.
“And He addressed them thus: “The harvest is abundant, but the reapers are few: therefore entreat the Owner of the harvest to send out more reapers into His fields. And now go.” Lk. 10:2 (WNT).