It’s a new year! Each year many people sit down and write out a “Resolution List.” Is that something you do as well? For many, come February they’ve either lost the list or purposely deleted it/thrown it away.
These lists are typically made up of self-betterment tasks like drink less soda, lose weight, eat less carbs, finish things you start, etc. Other things that often grace the list are ones that should really be at the top. Things that are spiritually based: read my Bible daily, tell someone else about Jesus, read through the entire Bible in a year, pray daily, pray for others more, etc. All these things are good, but how often do we really achieve the lists we make? Is it because we are more focused on accomplishing a task (with no real reward), instead of bettering ourselves?
Have you heard of “hacks”? Ways to help do something better than you have always done it. Like how to wrap a rectangular prism-shaped present with less wrapping paper (the diagonal wrapping paper method), or “how to fold a fitted sheet the right way” hacks. Here is a “hack” for your New Year’s Resolutions. Self-control is really at the root of many of the resolutions we make. We need to have better self-control to avoid the things we should not be doing, as well as doing the things we should. When you fail to create a habit of doing something, you have created a bad habit of NOT doing it. This is because we are not able to control ourselves in a way to achieve seemingly simple things. Of course, breaking bad habits is just as hard as creating good habits.
Paul told the young preacher, Timothy, “For this reason [Timothy’s sincere faith] I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7). In Christ, we have been given a spirit of power, love and self-control. At least, that is what we are supposed to have. Christians in the first century needed reminding and encouragement from people like Paul and Peter to continue practicing self-control. Or, as in Timothy’s case, a reminder that it is an attribute you should have.
The “fruit of the Spirit” are described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Self-control is one element of the fruit of the Spirit. The word “fruit” is not “fruits,” but one, singular fruit. The attributes listed together are what makes up the fruit of the Spirit. One thing defined by many words. One of which, again, is self-control.
As a disciple of Christ, an aspect of Christian living is controlling oneself. It is also the key element to achieving the goals/resolutions we set. So, set a goal for 2021 to be more self-controlled, and perhaps the other goals you have set will come with it! So, let’s focus on the spiritual goals for this year.
Mathetis can help you accomplish New Year’s resolutions like study the Bible daily and tell others about Jesus. Find out more in our post Start the New Year Off Right!