Each January, about 150 million Americans will come up with New Year’s resolutions to improve their lives in the year ahead.
Some of the most common resolutions include getting organized, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and exercising. By the end of the week, a quarter of those 150 million people who began a resolution will have broken it. By the end of the year, only 8% will have been successful.
But that doesn’t mean setting goals isn’t worthwhile, and believers will often look at a new year as an opportunity to grow spiritually.
Many resolve to be more passionate and consistent in our Bible study. We determine to overcome a besetting sin, or be more consistent in prayer. We want to become kinder, more patient, more loving, more selfless, more Christ-like people. We set goals that we hope will deepen our relationship with Jesus.
But as we see in John 15:1-5, the spiritual New Year’s resolutions we set are often backward. Spiritual fruit is not the means of developing an intimate relationship with Christ but is instead the natural result of having one.