New Year checklist

31/12/11 | Posted by Ian Black

Three-quarters of us will make New Year resolutions. According to an occupational psychologist, Kim Stephenson quoted in the Independent, how we fair depends on three things: they have to matter to us; we need a plan to complete them and there needs to be something positive in it for us to do it - a motivator. How we decide what to include and what to leave out is determined by the values that we aim to live by. The bible gives good pointers and so here's a new year's checklist to pull together a few threads.

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 New Year’s Resolutions

Time with God:  When Jesus summarised the law, love of God was his number one commandment.  Everything else flowed from it.  No relationship can survive without contact.  Just like we need to spend time with friends and loved ones if we are not going to become distanced from them, a relationship with God won’t flourish without spending time in prayer, worshipping and finding ways to think it all through (reading books, blogs, magazines, websites - on our own or in a group).

Money:  The bible says more about the right use of money than anything else.  God is generous to us and calls his followers to be generous with what they are given.  Now is the time to take a look at how much you give to charity, which includes churches.  What will it buy?  How much is it as a percentage of your income?  Is it regular and committed?  Just like we can’t pay the bills without income, neither can charities.

Making a difference: The second commandment Jesus highlighted was to love your neighbour as yourself.  He told his followers to be yeast in the dough to make it rise to the challenge and to be salt to bring out the flavour; in short to make a difference for good, to be people who bless.  What do you do that is a blessing to others and transforms the community?  What could you do?  How do you vote, demand that your taxes are spent and do you look at where your shopping comes from so that those who produce it are paid a fair price and not exploited?

Excerise: This may seem a strange one to include in a New Year spiritual makeover, but exercise keeps us fit in more ways than just the physical.  It improves mental health and reminds us that we are human.  Be realistic though.

Deep breaths: The bible gives nine virtues for godly living (fruits of the Spirit): love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Email, phones, texts and social media make it so much easier to comment straight away.  The first response is not always the best one or the kindest.  Does what you are going to say build up?  Is it gracious and will it bless?  If you have to complain or say something hard to hear is there a way you can do it that doesn’t completely squash and leaves room for dignity?

Work, rest and play: According to the Book of Psalms in the bible, it is a vain thing to rise early and go to bed late; God gives his beloved rest.  How is your life balanced?  Is there time to enjoy God’s goodness and be recreated?  Are you getting enough sleep?  Are you allowing others to have the space they need and do you recognise that people need to live balanced?  Do you spend enough time with those who matter most to you?  What do you need to change?

What else would you add?

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Great post!

#1. By mindful searcher on January 13, 2012

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