Begin the New Year Standing on the Word
It’s 2024, and you know what that means. The gyms are crowded, the fridge is stocked with healthy food, plans are made, and our intentions are the best they have ever been! Well, at least for a couple weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about having New Year’s resolutions like going to the gym, eating healthier, and being more organized. But I believe it goes without saying that those New Year’s resolutions have become so derivative to the point that usually know ahead of time what will be on most everyone’s list. And even more so, it has become stereotypical for those ambitions to fade away within a couple weeks — sometimes only days — into January. Some of the best advice I can offer you that has been shared with me is, if you have a goal, don’t wait for a special occasion to start it, because you really don’t need one.
But I know how much we love our New Year’s resolutions, so, on behalf of all of us here at Family Research Council, let me suggest a New Year’s resolution that is guaranteed to change the outlook of the year to come in the best way possible. And that is to have the goal of being in the Word of God every day of your new year (and every year!).
Everyone has a worldview. It’s how we view the world and ourselves, and it’s how we determine the choices we make. As Christians, we are called to hold a biblical worldview, which means every aspect of our lives is shaped by the principles, commands, and truths of Scripture. Perhaps, then, you may recognize the issue with being a Christian, striving to have a biblical worldview, but spending little to no time in the book with which we learn it from. As George Barna, senior research fellow for the Center for Biblical Worldview at FRC, said on “Washington Watch,” in “America today, only 4% of all adults have a biblical worldview.”
So, being in the Word daily will both shape the biblical worldview we are called to have and is the way “to make 2024 a year that could literally change your life,” FRC President Tony Perkins replied. In fact, this very belief is at the heart of FRC and serves as the impetus for our Stand on the Word two-year Bible reading plan . The new journal walks you through daily Scripture reading, questions, and insightful thoughts to get a richer understanding of the text, and space to write out your own thoughts. It also includes resources in the back such as summaries of each book of the Bible, how to pray, how to share our faith, and more.
But why is this so important? Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you why.
“God … [has] called us to be a city set upon a hill, a light that cannot be hidden,” Kevin Beal, associate pastor of Bethesda Church, shared on “Washington Watch.” And as such, “the only way for us to be able to be that people that God has called us to be is to know His Word and live according to His Word.” Reading Scripture, which is undeniable, irrefutable, absolute truth, is what allows the Holy Spirit to work in us. But don’t take our word for it. Turn to the Word itself:
- Psalms 119:11 – “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
- Romans 10:17 – “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
- John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
- Ephesians 6:10-18 shows how the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
- Psalms 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
I could go on! The Word is not just a bunch of motivational quotes that make us feel better. It’s our sword! Jesus used the Word to combat the devil in Matthew 4. It’s the weapon we use to fight not only the principalities of darkness but also the weakness of our own human flesh and its tendency toward sin. We need to know it and allow it to affect every aspect of our Christian lives.
Particularly in suffering or even just uncertainty (and we all know life is full of that), we draw near to Christ through His Word. Isaiah 26:3-4 instructs us how we ought to choose to focus on God when the author notes to “trust in the Lord forever for He is the eternal rock.” It is biblical discipline that helps grow the fruits of the Spirit in us despite any circumstance. And we know our hearts are deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9), which is why we choose scriptural truth rather than leaning on our own understanding.
In Matthew 7:13-14, we are told that it’s hard to live faithfully, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” And I’m not at liberty to say why specific people suffer in the ways they do, but I know God is sovereign. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
R.C. Sproul eloquently elaborated on this Scripture in his teaching series, “Suffering: A Case Study,” when he said, “If there is a God that is sovereign over all of life, … death, … pain, … diseases, … illness, and … sorrow, then what that means is that it is flat out impossible that any pain could ever be without purpose.” And, really, that sovereignty applies to all things in addition to our pain and confusion. But we don’t rest in that if we don’t take the time to write it on our hearts through the study of the Word.
Look, I’m a flawed person, and I often neglect the discipline I have spent this entire article arguing for you to make a habit. But God provided many experiences that revealed my human viewpoint will lead me astray, and Scripture is the only truth I can and should hold on to. No good deed, no fruitful labor, no act of love could ever come out of my brokenness. All good emerges through Christ alone, the meditation of His Word, and the praise of His character. I am nothing on my own. But through faith in Christ and reverence for His Word, I have everything.
The devil offers excuses, but we don’t have to take them. Don’t make darkness more significant than the gospel, for even Scripture says the darkness is not dark to Christ, and now we are called “children of light.” The work is finished. We don’t know what this year may bring, but we can choose to make God and His Word a part of it.
Now, it only seems fitting to end with Scripture. Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
The Word of the Lord. I pray you dwell in it daily.
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.