How are your New Year’s resolutions going? We often begin a new commitment with good intentions, but it’s difficult to maintain that same resolve every day. David Wheaton says the key to resolutions that stick is to start with scripture.

“Scripture is full of imperatives or commands that are God’s will for us, and they all have one intent: for studying and following the commands of scripture, so that we would glorify and worship and serve God through becoming more like His Son.”

Wheaton targets a key passage from Romans 8:29. 

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…”

“That is the goal of the Christian life, so that should be at the heart–the foundation of any resolutions we make. As we read scripture, we can ask a simple question: What does God in His Word tell us to do?”

“Notice as you read scripture, what are the imperatives? What are the commands? And when we read these commands, as famed revival preacher Jonathan Edwards did, we should resolve to do those things.”

One of the best ways to keep your goals for the year is to categorize each one. For example, have a spiritual category, as well as relational, physical, charitable, work resolutions, etc. Then connect each category with its biblical foundations.

“For spiritual goals, reading the word on a very regular basis is the starting point: God communicates to us through His word. That’s a key thing to do. If you’ve never read through the Bible in a year, I think that would be a great thing to do, to get an overview of scripture.”

Other spiritual goals might be memorizing passages of Scripture more regularly, developing a more disciplined prayer life, or taking in teaching throughout the week in addition to Sunday service.

Strong relational goals could spring from commands in Ephesians 5 to love and respect your spouse, and in Ephesians 6 to raise your children in the instruction of the Lord.

Wheaton also points out the benefits of physical goals, seen in biblical context:

“The body is the temple of God and we should we should care for it; I think that’s an important category. But the spiritual category is even more important. Paul said to Timothy,

‘Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, for bodily discipline (exercise) is only of little profit —so it does have some profit for those out there thinking it has none–but godliness is profitable for all things since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.(1 Timothy 4:8)”

Basing your personal resolutions on God’s established commands empowers us, not only to keep our own resolutions, but to grow closer to Him each day as we follow His word.

David Wheaton is an author, radio host, and former professional tennis player. David also hosts The Christian Worldview, a weekly, nationally-syndicated radio program that airs on 150 stations. He’s a contributing columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a sought-after speaker.

Why strong resolutions start with scripture