When you think of New Year’s resolutions, you probably do not think of the word increase. Most New Year’s resolutions have to do with decreasing. Decreasing your weight, decreasing your debt, decreasing your busy life. While its good to decrease in these things, the attitude of increasing can be a better, more positive way to set our goals for the new year.
Each year, our family gathers to list our New Year’s resolutions that will help us to increase. We choose not to focus on the decreasing of the past year, rather, bring into focus the ways we can grow, or increase, in the year to come. As we try to emulate Jesus, we use his example of increasing. Luke 2:52 gives us a guide.
“Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (KJV)
This verse outlines four areas that each of us can increase in the year to come.
First, we can increase in the intellect area of our lives (Acts 7:22). Luke 2:52 states that Jesus increased in wisdom. Ponder the possible areas of your life where you can increase in your intellect. Is there a new skill I need to learn? What can I do to do better in school this semester? Is there an area in my life that is weak that I need to learn more about?
Secondly, we can increase in making our physical state better or more healthy. Luke 2:52 states that Jesus increased in stature; He grew. While many of us may be beyond the point of our physical body growing and developing, we can still make the choice to increase in improving the health of the body we have. What can we do to improve our health? Our body is His temple (1 Cr. 3:16; 6:19). How can we improve it?
Thirdly, we can increase spiritually. Luke 2:52 says that Jesus increased in favor with God. We know that Jesus was a perfect, sinless man. He took time away to talk with the Father. He spent time teaching others God’s Word and ministering in the name of the Father. What are some ways we can set before us to help us grow spiritually? Maybe some questions to help would be: Am I reading His Word daily? Am I praying daily? Am I serving Him faithfully? Do I obey His Word? (Titus 1:16, James 1:22)
Lastly, we can increase socially. In Luke 2:52, Jesus also increased in favor with man. He ministered to others, loving them and meeting their needs. He didn’t shun people or desire to be a part of the “in group”. He dwelt among the people with no preconceived conditions of what they would do for him in return. This year, is there someone we need to get to know better? Is there someone we need to reach out to? Am I being faithful to love my neighbor as myself? What do we need to change so others see Christ in us? (1 John 4:7)
These four areas are good starting points to set our New Year’s resolutions by. Not only that, it also encourages us to “increase” in those four areas. The word increase means to: go forward, to advance, to proceed. We can’t increase when we make the choice to stay put, or live in the past. As believers, we shouldn’t settle for that. Our knowledge, belief and obedience of His Word should always be increasing. And when we obey it, Christ is increasing in us. (John 3:30)
In 2014, lay aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1), and run with great endurance to increase in wisdom, stature, favor with God and favor with man.