Given the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, it is easy to feel like God hard-wired us to be attracted to fresh starts. We all like new things, and a new year is no exception.
It is estimated that right now over 127 million well-intentioned Americans set goals for the New Year. Get fit, save money, stop eating fast food, quit smoking. We’ve all had a list, and setting goals is admirable.
But on December 11, 2016 a University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology study revealed that just 8% of people who make New Years resolutions actually achieve them.
That’s not a typo. New Years resolutions boast a 92% failure rate.
It’s easy to assume why this may be the case; lack of seriousness and accountability, not having an actionable plan, or even sheer laziness. I just wonder if it is not something less obvious. After all, 92% of 127 million is still a lot of million. And this is recurring annually without improvement.
As disciples, how do we fit into this narrative?
If God put Jesus on earth to accomplish something specific and change the world and you’re a disciple of Jesus, then God put you on earth to accomplish something specific and change the world. If we’re going to be a force for Christ in the world around us this year it only makes sense to start strong.
The question we ought to ask is how did Jesus begin?
These are the four things scripture tells us Jesus did before his ministry began:
- Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21)
- Jesus spent time alone with God (Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:1,2)
- Jesus fasted (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2)
- Jesus used scripture to overcome temptation (Matthew 4:4-11, Mark 1:12, 13, Luke 4:3-13)
If that’s how Jesus kick-started his ministry, it’s worth us considering kick-starting our year the same way. I wonder if 118 million people won’t achieve their goals because they’re not preparing properly?
What if we resolved to take time over the next few days preparing for 2017 the way Jesus prepared for his ministry – spending time alone with God, fasting, and meditating on the word? (And if you’ve not been baptized publicly by water, there’s probably no better way to start your new year!)
I gave this New Year prep method a shot this year, and found not only did my goals not come close to what God had in store, I realized God just wants more of me, not more from me. I’ll close 2016 extending a kind encouragement to you to do the same.
May 2017 be your most impactful year yet and may you have a Holy New Year.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.” –Ephesians 3:20