As we take another look at the Barna study on New Year’s resolutions we see the following set of numbers:
Among those planning to make resolutions, the top pledges for 2011 relate to weight, diet and health (30%); money, debt and finances (15%); personal improvement (13%); addiction (12%); job and career (5%); spiritual or church-related (5%); and educational (4%). Personal improvement responses included being a better person; giving more; having more personal or leisure time; organizing their life or home; and having a better life in general.
From reading this, I can’t help but be reminded of one of my favorite verses. From 1 Samuel 16, “People look on outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Our obsession with our outward appearance could be one of the most unhealthy aspects of our American culture. But what is really sad when looking at these numbers is the afterthought people make of spiritual things.
What made all of the difference in the world to my relationship with Christ was discovering Jesus’ teaching on life found in the Sermon on the Mount. I realized that Christ wants to show me how to live my life. That even now, he can teach me how to handle relationships, be a better Father, employee, and church member. That Christ has something relevant for my life at all turns. I began to understand that human problems rarely have human solutions and that I needed to let Christ change me if I wanted to overcome all that this world presents to me.
When I consider Barna’s findings, it becomes obvious that American’s do not have the same high opinion of spiritual growth as a solution to the challenges in their life. David Kinnamen, President of the Barna Group had this to say about the findings: “Only 9 out of more than 1,000 survey respondents – that’s not quite one percent – mentioned that one of their objectives for next year was getting closer to God in some way. Even in the rare instance when people mention spiritual goals, it is often about activity undertaken for God, rather than a personal pursuit of God or an experience with God.”
The point is that the best path to personal change and achievement is through spiritual change. That by allowing God to change us from the inside out then some of the other problems that we face will be less insurmountable and frustrating. Solutions to these problems will seem achievable and simple all because we have taken care of the most important aspects of ourselves first, the renovation of our heart into Christlikeness.
In the next post, I will talk about some of the personal changes that have occurred in my life simply because my relationship with Christ grew stronger and more impactful.
Do you need to rewrite your New Year’s resolutions?