Making New Year resolutions has biblical validity, but not all resolves have a Christian spirit behind them, and the ones that are according to God's desires demand more courage and faith than any other resolution we can make, shares a blogger from the DesiringGod ministry.
"May [God] fulfill every resolve for good," states 2 Thessalonians 1:11, and a year is a "defined timeframe long enough to make progress on difficult things and short enough to provide some incentive to keep moving," writes Jon Bloom, the President of DesiringGod, which he and theologian John Piper launched together in 1994.
God wants us to make resolutions for 2014 that will serve one great purpose: "pursue love," as 1 Corinthians 14:1 mentions, proposes Bloom, the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith.
Let 2014 be "the year that we pursue love," he challenges. "Let this be the year we actually put into place some strategies to help us love… we can make 2014 a year where we pursue love with more intentionality than we ever have before." But doing this is not easy, he added.
"Making love our aim in 2014 will demand more courage and faith than any other resolution we can make," Bloom suggests. "Nothing exposes the depth of our sin like really seeking to love God with our entire being and loving our neighbors as ourselves," he adds, referring to Luke 10:27.
The two great commandments concern loving God and loving fellow human beings. But no Christian can say that she or he has "perfectly kept" either of the two commandments. "Our very best efforts have been polluted by our prideful sin. And we have rarely been at our very best," Bloom writes, adding, "So we must let our pursuit of love drive us to the gospel."
Our focus on the gospel will do two things, Bloom says. One, it will give us the basis to pursue love. "We can only love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19) and sent his Son to become sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21)," he said.
Two, it will help deal with our failures. "Christ has kept the greatest commandments (and the rest) perfectly for us! So we are forgiven of our constant failure to love as we ought and are given grace to grow in the grace of love. And because of Jesus, someday we will love perfectly just as we have been loved."
The Piper's associate concludes his blog post by encouraging readers to resolve to pursue love this year "more than we ever have, knowing that we have been loved with an everlasting love (Psalm 103:17)."