I don't make resolutions per se but I usually choose a word or scripture as a focus for the new year. In December I was reading in 1 Thessalonians and this verse stood out to me (it's the same one in my sidebar to the right): "Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to excel still more." - 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Paul was writing to a group of relatively new believers, commending them for their obedience to following Christ and living in a way that honored Him. Paul encourages them to continue doing this but to also seek to do even better - to take their faith to the next level, to excel still more. He mentions it twice in that chapter.
For some reason that phrase resonated with me. I've been a Christian for a long time - fifty years - but I confess I have become comfortable with it. The walk has become routine and I feel the challenge to take all I'm doing "right" but to do it better, to excel still more.
I'm not sure what that will look like but this has become my anchor verse for 2013. What it won't look like is perfection so I won't even try for that. It just means I want to do better, not to attain favor by works but to seek to be obedient to what God asks of me. I suspect it means that I will care less about being politically correct and more about what God clearly says is right or wrong. It probably means more action and less talk as I reach out to help others whenever it is in my power to do so. It definitely means getting into scripture more. What it has meant so far this month is to serve as a reminder as I ask myself how I can "excel still more" in every situation before responding. In other words, what would honor God most?
It's scary on some level, challenging for sure, but always an adventure to step out in faith and actually seek to build some spiritual muscle.