Every year when the New Year comes around, we try to make resolutions that will improve some aspect of our life. From money, to relationships, to education – our goal is to make the next year even better than the previous year.
So what’s wrong with that? Sounds like a pretty good habit to have.
And it is…but let me be transparent for a second. What’s the point of achieving one more resolution if we aren’t living a Christ-centered life? That’s where Romans chapter 12 comes in.
Living out Romans Chapter 12
I’ve wanted to write about Roman’s 12 for a while and it seems to be the perfect time – especially since 2012 is just around the corner. Romans 12 only has 21 verses, but each verse packs a punch, outlining a framework that I’d encourage you to follow as you start to set your resolutions for 2012.
Don’t Conform to the World
Romans 12 starts off with this challenge, which has thrown a lot of people off because it can seem somewhat ambiguous. What does it mean, exactly, to conform to the world?
I think that Paul was encouraging us not to make plans that are based solely on happiness, because happiness is fleeting, but joy in Christ is eternal. It’s not to say that we should avoid being happy. I think it means that our main driver shouldn’t be fueled with the next dose of ‘happy.’ That’s a surefire way to soon be disappointed, which can lead us to unwholesome thoughts, actions and instant gratification – all of which are ‘ok’ in worldly standards, but far from ok when we are trying to live out Romans 12.
Practice HumilityThe second charge in Romans 12 is for us to remain humble. This one’s tough because it’s so easy to find fault with someone and to tear him or her down. All this does is give us a quick boost in our ego while deflating any bit of humility we had left.
Unfortunately, this stuff even happens in the church, making it tough for the body of Christ to be effective in the community. We all have different strengths and talents, which is what makes the body of Christ so strong. So instead of letting thoughts of superiority cause you to tear someone down, practice humility and encourage others to use their talents for God’s glory.
Let Love, Joy and Peace Frame Your Interactions
Finally, Paul finishes Romans 12 by telling us to be joyful, practice hospitality, and to bless others. Imagine what it would be like if we made our New Year’s resolutions based on Romans 12…
I will be more joyful
I will be more patient with others
I will be more faithful in prayer
I will share with those in need
I will practice hospitality
I will bless those who curse me
I will live in harmony with others
I will not be overcome by evil, but will overcome evil with good.
I took those straight from Romans 12 and think that they make an excellent start to any New Year’s resolutions, mine included.
I hope you’re challenged by these points from Romans 12 and encourage you to frame your 2012 resolutions with these in mind.
What are your resolutions for 2012? Will you try to incorporate the Romans 12 Resolutions as well?