So obviously, “New Year’s Resolutions” aren’t in the bible. But the concept of vision for a new way of life is not foreign to God’s ways. In fact, it’s the opposite. God loves to declare “Behold, I will do a new thing!” (Isa 43:29). So rather or not you ascribe to having new year’s resolutions, if you have a vision about where you wish to be, here are some biblical principles to help you maintain it.
7. Make Room for the New!
In Luke 5, Jesus speaks about not pouring new wine into old wineskins. If you want God to pour the new into your life, you have to give Him a new vessel to pour into. Some of the new things we desire for our life are not conducive with our habits. Just like if you want a life without smoking, it’s probably not a good idea to still hang out with other smokers during your usual cigarette breaks. So consider what may need changing to give room for your vision.
6. Declare It!
One of my favorite principles of faith in the bible is in Romans 4:17. It is about calling things that are not as though they are. If you declare it, you are pushing forward in faith. If you can see it, you will believe it. And if you can believe it, it will come. We all know the memorable line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come.” So consider, “If you declare it, it will come.”
5. Get help!
Know what you want, but don’t know exactly how to get it? Don’t let that stop you! First of all, God encourages us to seek him for wisdom because he’ll give it generously without looking down on us for it (James 1:5). Look at King Solomon and all his success! The one thing he asked for was wisdom. Some of that wisdom included seeking counsel from other advisers (Prov. 15:22). So I also encourage you, find someone who’s already in the place you want to be and learn from him.
4. Start Over . . . and Over Again!
I guarantee you, the death of most New Year’s resolutions begins with failure. You fail to go to the gym a couple of weeks, and you decide it’s over. Maybe next year. But His mercies are new every day (Lam 3:22-23)! We have to get out of the mentality that we have to wait 365 days to get another beginning. So if you fall short of expectation, forgive yourself and start over. No matter how many times you fall. The righteous man falls 7 times and gets back up again (Prov. 24:16). Every time.
3. Chew on It!
Meditating on your desire motivates you to keep going. When the shepherds spoke of marvelous promises about the baby Jesus, Mary stored those things in her heart and thought about it often (Lk 2:19). What will it take for you to think about it often? Sometimes it takes taping a reminder to your mirror where you’ll see it every day. Others may prefer to journal their vision and revisit it when necessary. Whatever it means for you, find a way to keep it in your mind and chew on it until you see the fruit of your vision.
2. Think High!
If you only look at your circumstances, it’s easy to get discouraged. That’s why you have to think above them. Colossians 3 instructs us to set our mind on things above. You cannot rise above your position until you can think higher than it. The greatest inventions were born out of the capacity to think outside of the current way of life. Some of those inventors were ridiculed for thinking they could come up with such things. We are seated with Christ who is at the right hand of God. Our possibilities are endless. Think in heavenly places, not on earth.
This principle may surprise you. Fasting is not a very popular practice, but it is a way that God’s people have responded to Him when they were desperate to see change. My favorite examples are Daniel and Esther. After Daniel completes a fast in chapter 10, God says, “From the first day you set your heart to understand, you were heard and I have come because of it.” Fasting gives you a single-mindedness and focus. Don’t do it attempt to earn favor from God. Do it to set your heart to understand Him. His character, nature, and will for your life. That is how your vision will become reality.