A pastor and faith leader outside Seattle, Washington, has a message for all those attempting to craft New Year’s resolutions as the year of 2023 wraps up and as 2024 beckons.
Remember resolutions for a deeper and more abiding faith, he told Fox News Digital — and understand, with any new goal, that you start from a place of God’s love.
“People all across our country make New Year’s resolutions with great intentions,” said Pastor Jesse Bradley, who runs Grace Community Church, in Auburn, Washington.
“Exercising, losing weight, spending less time on the phone, drinking less, doing more reading, attending church weekly — the list goes on for what people choose.”
While resolutions “represent a desired new direction, the opportunity for a reset or a habit that people want to cultivate,” he noted that research shows that many people will fail to change their “intentions to consistent actions.”
“Yes, some goals are unreasonable and some resolutions are unrealistic,” he said — but he said that specifics work best when it comes to resolutions and that people need accountability to help ensure their success.
“If your resolution is to go to church every Sunday, then having someone who will drive with you is a factor,” said Bradley. “Or having a family member or friend who will meet you there and sit next to you is helpful.”
This friend or family member, he said, “might text you the day before, or remind you, reject your lame excuses and spur you on when you feel like giving up on your goal. Include a friend who will commit to bringing out the best in you,” he added, referencing Proverbs 27:17, James 5:16, and 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
On the brink of a new year, Bradley reminded people of faith, “We all struggle with sin, procrastination, distraction, temptation and rationalization. But God’s help is paramount to our progress.”
He added, “Prayer is transformative. The Holy Spirit gives us self-control. Worship defeats fears and worries. The Bible gives us God’s perspective. And Jesus inspires us.”
If we were to leave it up to our own strength, he said, “typically we’d come up short with resolutions.”
Yet “when we abide with Christ, there is a source of perseverance, wisdom and faithfulness that is powerful,” Bradley shared with Fox News Digital.
“God loves us as we are — and is committed to our personal development and the process of becoming more like Christ.”
He said that being “teachable and surrendered” helps people make room for God in their lives.
“God can make a lazy person consistent and a wayward person solid and dependable,” said Bradley, sharing that scriptural passages including Zechariah 4:6, John 15:4-5, Psalm 46:1 and Proverbs 3:5-6 are helpful reminders on this point.
“Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no be no as you follow Him (Matthew 5:37). Instead of making boastful resolutions and unsuccessfully trying to keep them, there is a different approach.”
Said Bradley, “Form a prayerful plan — and involve others who will participate and hold you accountable as you rely on God daily together.”
He also encouraged people to “celebrate the breakthroughs, thank God — and go deeper in your walk with God as the Holy Spirit empowers you.”
He said, “When you put your trust in Jesus — the Bible says you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).”