The New Year includes traditions, toasts and, for many people, resolutions. Dean of the College of Theology Jason Hiles, PhD, and Dean of Students and Campus Pastor Tim Griffin, EdD, were asked to address the concept of New Year’s resolutions and how, if at all, Christians should approach them, in this week’s episode of Trending Faith.
Dr. Griffin begins this discussion by recognizing that any hesitation towards making New Year’s resolutions is a result of humans’ tendency to shy away from making commitments. This reluctance may be fueled by a fear of failure, though we are told in 2 Timothy 1:7 to not live in a spirit of fear, but to rejoice in power, love and self-control.
The end of each year naturally invites us to reflect on the past year. This tends to shine light on what each of us did or did not accomplish, what improvements we would like to see in our lives and the goals we have for the upcoming year.
When New Year’s resolutions inspire healthy lifestyle changes, they are great! These aspirations reveal the desires in our hearts to grow, whether that be in our faith, health or just as an individual. Dr. Hiles points out that the holiday season usually includes a break and some time off from either school or work. The chaos in our daily lives comes to a pause, and serves as a perfect opportunity for self-reflecting, rest and time to evaluate ourselves and what each of us would like our future to look like.
As inspiring as New Year’s resolutions can be, they also have the ability to leave us feeling defeated. Dr. Griffin reminds us that just as God gives us endless grace and we are encouraged to give others grace, we must also be gracious with ourselves. The truth is, we will all experience failure. Maybe we will fall short of our New Year’s resolutions or maybe we will experience it in another area of our life, but that does not justify having a defeated mentality.
God warns us of trials and hardships in life, but it is up to us to call upon His strength to practice diligence, persistence and faithfulness. These are the very characteristics of God and the attributes that Christians should clothe themselves of as well.
Dr. Hiles and Dr. Griffin conclude this episode of Trending Faith by explaining that New Year’s resolutions are a great practice of discipline, but as Christians, we must remember that we are not under law, but under grace. We should strive to become more like Christ every day, but when we fail, we have His love and mercy to pick us right back up. Whether you choose to participate in New Year’s resolutions or not, always be mindful of the grace Jesus offers each and every one of us. There is no better way to start the New Year!
To hear the full discussion, watch the video below:
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