The beginning of a new year calls us to reexamine our lives. What is working? What isn’t cutting it anymore? Am I the person that I want to be?
These questions lead to new resolutions. I am going to lose weight. I will cross some things off my bucket list. (Skydiving, anyone?) I will finally read the books that have been sitting in a pile on my nightstand. I will spend more time with my family.
As John Wesley would say, we are always “going on toward perfection.” But he wasn’t talking about our physical selves. He was referring to our relationships – with God and with each other.
So what would New Year’s resolutions look like from the church, or from anyone who claims the name “Christian”?
1. Pray more. Your relationship with God is exactly that: a relationship. Relationships require communication. One of the ways of speaking to God is through prayer. Not only does communicating with God strengthen your personal relationship with God, but praying for others also strengthens your relationships with other people.
2. Invest in your spiritual gifts. Are you a teacher? A preacher? Full of wisdom? A powerful prayer warrior? We all are blessed with spiritual gifts which God calls us to use to build up the body of Christ. Working together, with all of the gifts and their various expressions, is how we do the work of the church. So what are you passionate about? What are your gifts? And how can you use them to reach out to others in the love of God?
3. Care for yourself spiritually. Your faith is important. Are you taking the time to worship and study God’s word? Are you seeking after God in ways that nourish and rejuvenate you? At Trinity UMC, we have classes and worship services available to feed your spiritual life.
4. Build community. The church is all about community. Each of us has been created in the image of God. It is only in the presence of one another that we begin to see more clearly who God is and discover who we are as God’s children. In community, we lift each other up, hold each other accountable, and love one another as God has called us to do.
As we usher in a new year, I pray that we also usher in new yearnings to be in relationship with God and one another. May we continue to grow in discipleship and in love for one another.