(Start your year off right by considering our editor’s suggestions in this brief item we first published two years ago. This approach can be used successfully among a wide variety of people who meet regularly and seek to love and honor God.)
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By Michael C. Mack
When we make resolutions, we usually emphasize what we will do under our own power and will. When we run out of willpower, we begin to fail at keeping those resolutions. For Christians, there’s a far better way. Move from New Year’s resolutions to spiritual reconstitutions! Here’s how.
At your first meeting of the new year with your staff, elders, group or class—or even as you study the Bible with your family—look at the list of what comprises the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23 and discuss what each one looks like in everyday life. For instance, what would it look like to display love for God, others, and even self every day? Then, each person chooses a fruit of the Spirit which they want to grow during the following year. Remember that each is fruit of the Spirit, meaning we allow God to work in us and change the way we think (Romans 12:2), and we do this in spiritual community.
Have each group member write down what fruit of the Spirit others have chosen and commit to pray each day for God to work in that person’s life to develop and demonstrate that fruit more and more. At each meeting during the year, ask questions such as, “How have you seen the Spirit working in and through you this week to develop, grow, and reproduce the fruit of the Spirit you chose?”