As we were discussing in the previous post, there are many spiritual resolutions that one can make for the upcoming New Year. I am not saying that one should not make physical resolutions such as weight loss, promotions, and getting a better education. I am simply stating that we should seek to make spiritual resolutions for the upcoming year, as well. In this post, let’s look at four more spiritual resolutions that we could make for the upcoming year.
4. Become More Faithful to Your Local Church
Mary Neal reported about the experience she had in heaven in her book To Heaven and Back. One of the interesting things she states in the book is not related to her experience, but the result of what the experience did to her. In other word, the experience set her in a new mode of thinking and a new mode of living. She speaks about attending church in the latter part of her book. She writes:
“I regularly attend church services and have served on the board of elders, but I believe that loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength is of the greatest importance. I live in a beautiful and mountainous area and many people claim the mountains as their church and believe they can worship God there instead of within a building. That can be certainly true but the question, as is often posed by my pastor, is not can a person worship God while in the mountains, but will that person worship God while in the mountains? …Churches provide a place of gathering for people who share common beliefs, support and encouragement for each other in faith, a place to find insight into and teaching about God’s Word, and they provide a time and place where people can leave the world behind and focus only on their spiritual relationship with God.” (Mary Neal, To Heaven and Back, 214).
The writer of Hebrews records,
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23–25, NKJV). The writer of Hebrews is telling us something very similar to what Mary Neal wrote. Church is incredibly important. Christians are met with obstacles every day. Our faith is not helped by increasing attacks from secular humanists, naturalists, and socialists who desire to rid the world of religious belief (that is, belief that does not promote the integrity of human life and of the individual). Although there is a clash in this mantra due to the fact that there is a religion being promoted by the anti-religious…the religion of anti-religion. Church brings believers together. Church SHOULD be a place where we feel comfort. Church SHOULD be a place of comrodry and fellowship. Church SHOULD be a place to hear God’s word and to worship God freely. No, there is no perfect church. But, we need to seek to fellowship with fellow believers as often as possible. If you are not being fed, seek a church where you will be. But, you need to be in church. The Christian life is not meant to be a solo project. It is a community project. Remember this: we Christians SHOULD be an example of unity and strength because we will be spending a LOOONG time together.
5. Tithe To Your Church and Give to Trusted Charities
It is surprising to me how many people are stating that tithing is no longer important. Tithing is important for the operation of the church. Without funds, the church would not be able to afford to run ministries to help others, pay the power bills, and to pay the pastor. Should the church pay the pastor? Absolutely, it is biblical. Paul wrote, “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14, NKJV). The pastor has to eat and pay his bills, too. In order for the pastor to be available to you, he must be paid.
God has also commanded us to tithe. The word “tithe” or “ma’aser” means literally “ten percent.” The first recorded instance of one tithing came from Abram when he gave a tithe of his income to the priest of God, Melchizedek in Genesis 14. The prophet Malachi wrote, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8, NKJV).
Maybe you haven’t been tithing the way you should. Well, it’s not too late to start. Why not help out your local church in 2013? Also, if God has blessed you with extra funds, why not help out some worthy charities in 2013, as well? St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and many other great dependable charities need your help. Why not start the New Year off by helping others who are in need? That would be fulfilling the Second Great Commandment in helping your neighbor. Be sure to check out watchdog websites dedicated to seeking out dependable charities before giving.
Normally when we think of fasting, we think about going without food. However, fasts can be a variety of things. Some have taken a Facebook fast. Others have taken a television fast. This is especially good to try around Holy Week leading into Easter. I spoke to someone recently who was asking about hearing the voice of God. I thought about it and it seems that we may very well miss the voice of God because we become too busy. Our world is bombarded with information all the time. Why not take some time off to spend with God. Whatever you choose to abstain from, the key is replacing the time doing that activity with time spent with God. In other words, if you choose to fast from television, use the time you would normally watch television with time spent in prayer and mediation with God. That’s the key for fasting.
7. Seek to Start a New Ministry (Seek ways to help)
Finally, seek new ways to help. It may be that God is desiring for you to help out in some way. Maybe you need to help a charity. Maybe you can start a new ministry at your church. Try to seek some way in which you can help others and serve God this New Year. You may be surprised at the blessings that could come your way and to other in 2013 if you are willing to step out on faith.
There may be a multiplicity of other spiritual resolutions that you can make for 2013. The key is to try to seek a new way that you can grow in your faith, serve God, and to help others. These are things that we as Christians should seek already.
God bless and have a very blessed New Year’s,
Pastor Brian Chilton
All Scripture unless otherwise noted comes from The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).
Neal, Mary, M.D., To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again (Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press, 2012), 214.