How to Set Spiritual New Year’s Resolutions
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | December 26, 2015
We all know the feeling: January 1st rolls around and we decide this is the year we’re going to read through the whole Bible. But somewhere around March 17th—and Leviticus 21—we begin to waver or maybe even give up.
New Year’s resolutions—or goals, as many prefer to call them—are usually relegated to the domain of exercise, diet and better habit-forming. But for Christians, there is a spiritual side to be cultivated as well. Below are some ways to set achievable goals for your walk with God for 2016.
1. Establish a system of accountability.
For many people, establishing good habits comes down to accountability: They aren’t able to accomplish a goal all by themselves, but they can do it with a little help. A system of accountability means finding someone with whom to share your spiritual goals; a person who will regularly check up on your progress. A good choice for an accountability partner would be a girl who is spiritually equal to or stronger than yourself. Make sure to set up regular times to meet, Skype or otherwise contact one another to discuss what you’re learning and “check in” on your goals.
2. Create a prayerful environment.
Prayer can be one of the hardest spiritual goals to implement. The Enemy knows prayer is powerful, and he will do almost anything to distract us from it. That’s the key when it comes to prayer: perseverance past the point of distraction. This is tough with phones, Internet and Netflix always calling for our attention!
George Muller, one of the greatest prayer warriors of all time, said: “The great fault of the children of God is they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere.” In order to persevere in prayer, we need to set up a prayerful environment.
One of the ways I accomplished this was by setting up a prayer room in my closet (even before the fantastic movie War Room came out, suggesting that idea!). I pinned up index cards with verses and prayer requests and pictures of friends I wanted to remember. I had a CD player to listen to worship music. At first, I only spent a few minutes there. But as I persevered in the habit, I began to enjoy it more and seek out time in my “prayer closet.”
The wonderful thing about prayer, however, is it does not need to happen in the same place all the time. Prayer is portable! Thus, the real key is to have a “prayerful environment” within our hearts. Whenever you are tempted to worry—pray! When you get angry—pray! When you see a homeless man on the street—pray! Make prayer your first step of each day in 2016.
3. Make your quiet time something you can look forward to.
Making time for devotions, Bible reading and prayer is tough when you’re a busy high school or college student, but it only gets busier from there! The truth is, we will never have a time in life when we aren’t busy. We have to recognize that time with God is worth prioritizing.
To aid in prioritizing quiet time, make it something you look forward to! Do you love having coffee in the morning? Determine you won’t have your coffee until you are also sitting down with your Bible. Do you struggle to have time for devotions? Set up a basket with highlighters, pens, a journal and your Bible where you can sit down for 15 minutes and study. Do you get distracted by your phone? Set a time—say, 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.—when you turn off your phone completely and concentrate on your Bible reading.
Bible reading plans can be a great way to start the new year. However, reading through the Bible in a year is not always the best choice for every girl. Instead, try reading through a specific book each month. You can also look up topical studies through sites like She Reads Truth, or you could start in the New Testament instead of in Genesis. Whatever you decide, find someone to keep you accountable and create an environment that makes you look forward to your time with God.
Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourself to prayer.” When we make something a priority, we will sacrifice for it. When we give time to it, we know we are devoted to it. So let’s make 2016 a year of devotion: devotion to God, to His Word and to knowing Him through prayerful hearts.