As we step into 2018, the host of resolutions and goals will follow. For Christians setting spiritual goals, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start in setting these goals. It is best to go back to the guidebook, the Bible, in order to begin this resolution-setting process. Here are seven verses that we can all strive to live by in 2018, rooted in foundational Biblical truths we should know and understand on a personal level.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
If we have received Christ as Lord, then we must continue in Him. It has become very popular to claim to be a Christian, but not to walk in Christ; this verse cautions us against abiding by such a lifestyle. Christians must be dedicated to following Him following their conversion, constantly growing in the faith. Walking in Him includes meditating on His word, being in prayer consistently, and fellowshipping with other believers. Take the time during 2018 to invest in your faith, with a constant mindset of thankfulness to Him for what He has done for you.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
To hear the word, in a sermon or in Bible study or personal Bible reading, is essential. It is integral that we hear the word and digest it; however, absent acting upon the word, it is meaningless. Too many of us, myself included, will hear the word and think about how relevant it is – we all love to hear a good sermon. But how few of us actually put into practice the words we hear! There is no point to memorizing scripture or listening to a sermon if we neglect to actually live it. We deceive ourselves by thinking that simply hearing about the word will change us; we must comply with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives by taking action upon all that we hear.
“Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
The verse does not caution us against putting effort into our appearance, but it cautions us against prioritizing outward beauty above inward beauty. A woman of righteous character, with a gentle and quiet spirit, is far more admirable than a woman who looks perfect on the outside but her inward character is rotting. I love that this verse highlights gentleness and quietness as “imperishable beauty” – I think the “strong and empowered” women we see on the feminist pedestal in today’s world can lead many women to believe that they must be loud and overt about their strength in order to be considered “strong and empowered”. However, I think that there is something to be said about the woman whose strength does not have to be said, but merely observed. It takes far more strength to be restrained with one’s words than to speak whatever is on one’s mind. Gentleness and quietness are incredibly admirable. They are skills I hope more women seek to develop this new year – I know I will!
“Do not be deceived: “bad company corrupts good morals.”” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Ladies, for those of you who have had your share of toxic friendships, this one’s for you. A principled woman should not jeopardize all that she stands for by spending her time with people of poor character. I have seen women of strong faith and great character falter and fall away because of who they choose to befriend. We do not have to isolate ourselves from different people, but we should ensure that the people with whom we frequently associate are not ones who will lead us astray.
“But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28
“Love your enemies” – one of the most common phrases we hear. Loving our enemies is not easy, but it is instructed of us. To love someone who opposes you, or even persecutes you, is completely contrary to the ways of the world. Immediately, if someone is against you, the instinctive first step is to do the same: to turn your back on him or her, or possibly to speak ill of that person. But instead, Jesus tells us to love those people. Instead of seeking to hurt that person, we are to do good. As Christians, this kind of behavior should completely set us apart from the rest of the world. If you are hoping to look more like Christ and less like the world this next year, this is definitely the verse to live by in 2018.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such is as good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Paul tells us in this verse that we should only speak if it is profitable for building others up; there is no other purpose for our speech. As I meditate more and more on this verse, I realize how much of what I say, just in one day, is wasted on something other than building others up. I recognize that the majority of my conversations throughout the day are without direction – they are not for building up, rather they just are. With that in mind, I am trying to be more intentional about my conversations. I hope to edify others with the words I say because I choose my words with purpose. Not only can such a mindset help to avoid conflict due to poor choice of words, but it is important in encouraging others.