As the New Year dawns, it’s common to find ourselves in a reflective state, considering our aspirations and setting resolutions for the year ahead. A young man recently approached me with a thoughtful inquiry that is likely on the minds of many: “How can I position my life to achieve fruitfulness in the year ahead?” In essence, he was asking not just how to make wise New Year’s resolutions, but more importantly, how to keep them. This question finds its answer in the teachings of Jesus, particularly in John 15:8, where He says, “The Father is glorified in our bearing much fruit—AND—this proves we are His disciples.”
This scriptural insight provides a profound framework for setting resolutions as it highlights the importance of bearing fruit. But what does it mean to bear fruit in the context of New Year’s resolutions? The fruits that Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit seek are evident in three key areas: Christian character, Christian conduct, and Christian converts.
1. Developing Christian Character:
Christian character refers to the inner transformation that aligns us with the virtues of Christ. This includes cultivating qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In setting resolutions, consider goals that foster these attributes. For instance, resolving to spend daily time in prayer and Bible study can deepen your understanding and practice of these virtues.
2. Exhibiting Christian Conduct:
Christian conduct is about how we live out our faith in our daily interactions and decisions. It involves embodying the teachings of Christ in our relationships, work, and community involvement. Resolutions that focus on improving how we treat others, volunteering for charitable work, or being more ethical in our professional lives are ways we can exhibit Christian conduct.
3. Fostering Christian Converts:
The third aspect of bearing fruit pertains to evangelism and discipleship – leading others to Christ and helping them grow in their faith. This doesn’t necessarily mean setting a goal to convert a specific number of people; rather, it’s about being open to opportunities to share your faith and being a living testimony of Christ’s love. Resolutions might include joining a ministry at church, starting a Bible study group, or simply being more intentional about having spiritual conversations with friends and family.
In aligning our New Year’s resolutions with these aspects of fruitfulness, we do more than just set goals for self-improvement. We position our lives to glorify God and demonstrate our discipleship. This approach transforms our resolutions from mere aspirations into acts of worship and service.
As you set your resolutions for the year ahead, consider how they can contribute to developing your Christian character, conduct, and ability to foster converts. Remember, the goal is not perfection but progress in aligning our lives more closely with the teachings of Christ. In doing so, we not only find personal fulfillment but also contribute to the greater work of God’s kingdom.
May this New Year be one of growth, not just in our personal ambitions, but in our journey of faith, as we seek to bear fruit that glorifies God and proves our discipleship.