The new trend is to choose a single word as a theme for the new year in place of or alongside your standard New Year’s resolutions. Have you chosen your word for the new year?
A Word vs. A Resolution
The thing with choosing a single word or making New Year’s resolutions is that we rarely see them through to the end. According to Huffington Post, only 8% of people actually succeed at completing their New Year’s resolutions. WOW! Those are quite the discouraging statistical odds.
I believe the dividing line between choosing a word versus a resolution for the new year is the heart behind the tradition. One might make a resolution such as reading one book every month or learning a new skill each quarter. Resolutions aren’t always based on the changing of one’s personality or character. However, choosing a word for the new year is usually just that.
One might choose FOCUS as their word for the year and that is because that person sees a need for better time management. Another might choose the word GRATITUDE because they see a need for being more contented in their everyday lives. These are all good and worthwhile changes for every Christian to make.
The word chosen for the new year finds its roots most often in something we see as a deficit in ourselves, something we know we need to change, to improve upon in our lives. The word is often based on a conviction.
Rooted in Conviction
If the word or resolution that is heavy upon your heart is a conviction pressed upon you by the Holy Spirit, then this really cannot be a passive pursuit can it? Cutting out sin in our lives should never fall into an 8% victory rate should it?
Conviction is indicative of a healthy spiritual life – of the Holy Spirit being active at work in our souls. True conviction causes change, it stirs repentance.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. – Roman 6:14
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. – 1 John 3:9
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57
Lives don’t change by simply claiming a word or a mantra, repeating it over and over again, hoping that it will spur you onto action. That is pagan and it is evil.
Lives change when the soul is grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Life isn’t changed by the person, but by God working in and through that person.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
Practical Ways to Ground Your Word in God’s Word
If your word for the new year is rooted in conviction then it is not just a fun proclamation for social media, but an admission to possible sin in your life.
Are you taking the proper steps to cut that sin out of your life? Are you surrendering to the Lord in prayer and relying on His Word to ground you as you desire to be more like Him? Have you thought about gaining accountability as you seek to nurture this area of your life?
Do you like the idea of having a word for the new year but you don’t know how to ensure it is meaningful?
- Pray over this issue in your daily quiet times, asking the Holy Spirit to help you surrender and make the changes necessary.
- Add scriptures that apply to index cards and memorize them to help you focus on what the Bible has to say about it.
- Cut out those things from your life that impede your ability to have victory in this area.
- Ask a friend to help keep you accountable. Meet often, ask hard questions, and challenge each other to live more like Christ.
- Consider adding a reading list from Christian authors that write on this topic to steep your mind and heart, once again, in the things of God.
- Try and find a way that your word for the new year might benefit others. So often our New Year’s resolutions are just about us, how we can we work it into our lives in a way that shares Christ’s love with others.
Our Victory is in Christ
If claiming a word for your new year is rooted in the desire to be more Christlike, do not put your trust in the proclamation of a word and the good thoughts you have toward its completion in your life. Victory can only be found through Christ.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
In the same way, that our salvation does not come from our own efforts, so our sanctification does not come from our human attempts at change. We must be empowered by the Holy Spirit, covered in prayer, and supported by God’s Word in our lives to see real conformity to Christ.
We can choose one word or many to describe our faults, our desires, and our dreams, but without Christ in us, these are all just empty words.
It is Christ’s victory over sin that gives us the assurance that he can and will complete the work in us, not just to make our year better, but to glorify himself through a life changed. This work is not accomplished by our word, but by his Word.
Choose your word for the new year carefully, but be encouraged that when you are rooted in God’s Word and conviction is coming from the Holy Spirit, he is ready and willing to do the transforming. We do not have to greet the new year with fear that we will fall into the dreaded 8%, but we can have confidence that our victory is in Christ.
Share in the comments below what your word for the new year is and why!
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