An Unanticipated Resolution for the New Year
Every January brings a new year and, for many, a set of New Year’s resolutions. According to Inc. Magazine, the top five resolutions given in a survey are all the expected suspects:
- Diet or eat healthier (71 percent)
- Exercise more (65 percent)
- Lose weight (54 percent)
- Save more and spend less (32 percent)
- Learn a new skill or hobby (26 percent)
Did you notice what these resolutions have in common? They are “me” focused. They have to do with improving you, your health, and your lifestyle.
Make your resolution about serving others.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with these resolutions, we should balance resolutions like these with something a bit more unexpected. Resolutions focused on others to cultivate a lifestyle of serving others.
In fact, we should not only make serving others a resolution, we should make it a lifestyle.
The reason we should focus on serving others is because Jesus modeled and taught this approach. He summarized in Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Paul continued this theme in Philippians, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
The bottom line is that if we are called to follow Jesus’s teachings, model, and ministry, our lifestyle should include serving God by serving others and making time to get to know them and share the gospel.
This can be challenging. With limitations on time, focus, and money, we must be intentional about making others a priority.
Growing an “others based” lifestyle:
What is your primary focus?
We should strive to fixate our focus on the Lord. Our communion and commitment to God is crucial to our outreach and ministry to others. The more time we spend with Him, our desire to serve others grows through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our awareness of opportunities, freedom from selfishness, and joy we find in our service begins to flow and pour through us.
Recognize the battle.
As you seek to expand your witness and service to others, expect opposition. Satan will oppose your efforts with distraction and other tactics, but also expect opposition from yourself. Our selfish nature can be our biggest obstacle to serving others. The Lord has given us His Spirit, His Word, and other believers to help keep us accountable and encourage us along the way. Don’t neglect these resources.
Empty and Re-fill your plate.
Cultivating a lifestyle of serving others requires time and energy. Since most of us are already spread thin in these areas, we need to consider what to take off our plates. Comb through your calendars with the Lord by asking the following questions:
- Does this activity help, hinder, or distract me from following Jesus and loving others?
- Am I called to do this?
- Is it just “filler” or am I actively serving by pursuing this?
- Will this matter in eternity?
Take advantage of the opportunities you currently have.
Whether at your workplace, in your neighborhood or at the store, keep in mind that everyone you meet and interact with is a potential opportunity. As you interact with people interact with the Lord in prayer asking for direction and boldness in your conversations. One specific prayer I pray when interacting with others is, “Lord, how can I lead this person one step closer to you (for non-believers) or one step further in their walk with you (for believers)?”
Seek additional service.
Evaluate the service opportunities at your church as well as other non-profits in your area. Most of them would love to give you a tour and explain their mission and volunteer needs. Prayerfully review them asking the Lord, “Where and how do you want me to serve?” My own experience is that expectant prayer and a patience search will yield opportunities that you are not only passionate about, but also make use of your gifts, talents and background.
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