Happy New Year!

The beginning of every year is the time when the world seems to unite around one word: “resolutions.” With the start of another circle around the sun comes the feeling of turning over a new leaf; anything is possible, and many people feel empowered, even invincible, to tackle goals that even one day previous seemed almost overwhelming.

Most resolutions revolve around the betterment of one’s life—usually through health goals or the laying aside of bad habits that affect one’s ability to live their best life. This transformation is often championed with the phrase, “new year, new me!”

But for the devoted Christian, the mindset of “new year, new me” shouldn’t be an annual one—it’s a day-by-day endeavor. While studies show that as much as 54% of people give up on the endeavors of a “new me” by June of each year, this is not the way Christians are instructed to live.

As followers of Jesus, we are told to “put off the old self that belongs to your former way of life and that is being corrupted because of deceitful desires […] and put on the new self, which has been created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22, 24)

What a powerful and life-changing command! Our solutions to the problems that come with a sinful nature in a fallen world are not found in a 30-day workout regimen, a decluttered house, or even a healthier diet. Our transformation comes from putting off what was old and dead and putting on what is new, and living in the likeness of God. This includes trading lies for truth, anger for peace, thieving for generosity, gossip for words of encouragement, and more.

As we move ahead in 2019, we must ask ourselves this: are our resolutions too narrow? Are we dreaming too small? Are we fixing cosmetic issues in our lives—whether large or small—and ignoring the deeper spiritual realities? This is not to say that physical wellness, a healthy environment, and other goals cannot better us as people and as followers of Jesus. But it’s wise to ensure we are in a continuous state of spiritual renewal, from darkness to light, just as we work to renew and transform our outer environment.

When we center our resolutions, both annually and daily, around embracing the instructions of Christ—that we would live a life transformed, taking off the nature of the old man and putting on the new—that is when we will experience a truly blessed and transformative year, with a truly NEW ME!