Biblical New Year’s Wishes to Guide You in the Coming Year
New Year’s is celebrated by many different cultures in different ways and in different times of the year. For example, Jewish new year celebrations and Chinese new year celebrations take place at different times than the traditional Western New Year’s on January 1st. But no matter where you’re from, if you’re celebrating some kind of new year and are also a Christian believer, you can find inspiration in the Bible for this time of year.
What does the Bible say about New Year’s?
Since the Bible was written in cultures and places that might be very different from our own today, the references to holidays in the Bible are often going to be different than our modern holidays. This means that there aren’t going to be specific references to the holiday of New Year’s or New Year’s Eve in the way that we celebrate it today. However, there are still verses that talk about some of the themes and ideas that we celebrate for this holiday.
For example, New Year’s can be a time to thank God for His blessings to us over the previous year and also for the chance to start over whenever we need to for the upcoming year. The thing that New Year’s is often most known for is its focus on new beginnings. A frequent new year wish or prayer might be to successfully set a new year’s resolution.
Bible verses about new beginnings
As mentioned above, one symbolic part of the New Year is that it gives us a chance for a new beginning. This is a common theme in the Bible, and one that connects well with the message of hope that we find in the Lord Jesus Christ’s life and teachings. For example, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says the following:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Becoming a “new creature” is kind of what New Year’s can be about, though not on the same spiritual scale. However, you still might be able to have some biblical New Year’s wishes or a religious new year resolution that connects to this theme, and there are other verses that might give some inspiration on how God can help us become “new” in whatever ways we need to improve ourselves. For example, Hebrews 10:20 calls following Jesus “a new and living way,” a way that we choose to take to become more like Him, and Colossians 3:10 says that believers should “put off the old man…and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Other verses also talk about becoming new through God and His Son:
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”
Ephesians 4: 21-2
“The truth is in Jesus: That ye put off … the old man, which is corrupt… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
It’s clear that the Bible speaks about the importance of becoming “new” or changing for the better and that we should do that with Jesus’s help. So, with that in mind, maybe we should talk about choosing helpful resolutions for the New Year.
What resolution should I choose?
When making New Year’s resolutions in the past, you might have run into the problem that many people face: it’s often hard to keep those resolutions. In fact, some have claimed that more than half of all resolutions fail.
No matter how good your intentions are, changing habits or building new ones can be very difficult. In fact, building a new habit, or something that we do almost automatically, without thinking much about it, often takes a long and difficult period where we have to intentionally make that habit a part of our routine.
This period of intentionally trying to pursue a new habit can be hard to stick with. But if you remember that it’s a necessary part of the process, that can sometimes help you continue until the routine becomes a habit. So, when you’re choosing a resolution to try for, make sure that it’s something that you’re going to be able to consistently work towards for a while, even if it’s difficult at times.
Even with these ideas in mind, sticking with your resolutions can be hard. Fortunately, as a Christian, you have an advantage when it comes to making and keeping resolutions: your faith!
Faith is helpful in both a mental and spiritual sense. Mentally, a part of having faith in Jesus Christ means that you truly believe that it is possible for people to change. The Lord’s frequent call to “repent” in the Bible is a call to change and become better through Him. In choosing some resolutions that you feel are important for you, you are deciding to work towards a goal that you can’t yet see, trusting that it’s possible to reach it. Isn’t that a big part of what faith means?
In the spiritual sense, faith is also an important help whenever we try to make a change. Having faith means that you know you don’t have to make these changes alone and that you can always have divine help in your life. God is aware of you and of your needs, as we can see in Luke 12:6-7:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
Even the small details of your life are important to God because He cares about you, and he also cares about your efforts to make goals for yourself. This applies even to goals that don’t seem to have much to do with your faith, so remember to include God in all your efforts for self-improvement. New Year’s Day can be a wonderful time to think about the coming year and what a blessing it is to have Christ Jesus on our side.
Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we “can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us].” When we bring Christ’s influence into our lives in all the things we do, we get His help even more abundantly, and we can do whatever He asks us to do…and we can do a lot of good in general!
So, what kind of resolutions might you want to make? For many believers, New Year’s resolutions might involve a commitment towards more faith-based activity. For example, sharing your beliefs with others or participating in church services more frequently are both things that you might want to consider as a resolution. Let’s look at those options in a bit more detail:
How to commit to going to church more
The church-going experience is an important part of many believers’ faith. If you are someone who attends church services but you only do so infrequently, you might want to try to attend more often. Attending church services with like-minded believers often gives people a chance to strengthen their own commitments through seeing others who are trying to live the same Christian principles that they themselves are. It can also be a good chance to meet friends who will support you in your faith, to hear from ministers or teachers who have spent a lot of time and effort learning about the Bible, and to enjoy worshipping in a group. Popping in once in a while for a Merry Christmas might be good, but many of these benefits will mean even more if you attend church more frequently.
If you want to attend church more, but find it difficult to do so, here are a few things you might want to try:
- Make a joint commitment with a friend or family member. Whether it’s someone you live with or just someone who attends the same services as you, it can be empowering to have a goal to attend church services together. It also gives you an additional reason to look forward to the services: spending some time with people you enjoy being around.
- Plan to travel in a carpool or other group transportation with other members of your congregation. This helps you have a good reminder and a schedule to follow in attending services, which can be a great motivator as well.
- Think about why you want to go. If you’ve decided that it’s important for you to attend church more frequently, you probably have some good reasons for that goal. What kind of results do you hope to see? Are you looking for increased inspiration or happiness for your own life, motivation to interact with other believers, a chance to spend time away from secular worries for a while, or something else entirely? Having your reasons in mind will help you remember why it’s important to you to attend your church services.
- Pray! Maybe this one is obvious, but with any goal you have, prayer will help you work together with God to reach it. It will also help you keep your own thoughts on that goal even more.
Tips for sharing Bible verses with friends
Another common resolution might be to share your faith with your friends by sharing Bible verses with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to convert anyone who doesn’t share your faith, though well-intentioned sharing in this way is almost always a good idea. It can also mean sharing verses with friends or family who already believe as you do and need encouragement. They will often feel blessed that you’ve thought to reach out to them.
Either way, there are many ways that you could share Bible verses with your friends and family. One way is through social media: by sharing a Bible verse that has impacted you on your social media feed, you’re working to do what Jesus directs in Matthew 5:16:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
You can even tailor these shared messages to the time of year and offer a new year greeting or wish readers of your post best wishes or a blessed new year. At other times, offering birthday wishes to someone along with a verse that reminded you of that friend can also be impactful.
By sharing verses online (or in person, for that matter), be careful not to imply you’re better than the receiver. What we are trying to do is what Jesus said: help them see the goodness of God through the things that we share. Doing this on social media is a great opportunity to reach a wide group of friends, family, and acquaintances. You never know who might need some encouragement just when you feel it’s the right time to share a Bible verse that has helped you.
There are other ways that you can share more personal messages, of course. Perhaps you could share Bible verses with your friends or family as part of a Happy New Year message or a New Year card, and choose one of those verses mentioned above that discuss new beginnings or self-improvement through Christ. Sharing verses like this is a great time for you to express your own goals, if that’s something that you’re comfortable doing, and to encourage others to look for their own examples of verses that share these ideas.
You might also be able to tailor your verse-sharing to individuals based on what you know about each person. For example, a Bible verse about fear or how to overcome fear might be a good option for a friend who expresses some doubts or worries about the future—we’ve probably all been there, and we’re not alone! The verse mentioned earlier from Luke 12:7 addresses this: “Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”
Here are some other verses that express feelings of hope amid uncertainty and fear:
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
While sharing a Bible verse might not immediately make everything better, it can often help remind people that they are not alone in their struggles: you cared enough to share your thoughts and findings with them, and God cares enough to talk about their concerns through the Bible.
No matter what you’re sharing or who you’re sharing it with, you should always try to find verses that have meaning for you so that you can share that meaning with others.
How to choose where to study in the Bible
That’s the big question, isn’t it? There are lots of options for how you can structure your Bible study; some people will, of course, just read straight through from start to finish (which is probably more common with the New Testament than it is with the Old) or at least pick a certain book in the Bible and read that book all the way through.
This is a valuable approach to studying, and it helps you put verses and teachings in their context and, hopefully, understand them even more deeply. If you feel like reading an entire book of the Bible through from start to finish, you might want to pick one that you’re less familiar with or maybe one that you know has some of your favorite passages so that you can appreciate them even better in the context that surrounds them.
On the other hand, it can also be valuable to study in a less straightforward way—literally. The Bible covers many topics, teachings, and stories that may share themes with each other, even if they’re not in the same chapter or book.
If you want to consider a certain topic from the Bible in more depth, you might decide to study passages that focus on that topic in particular. You can jump from place to place in the Bible as you do so, and you might be able to see the topic you’ve chosen in a new light when you see how it is approached in different passages and by different inspired authors.
For example, studying love might take you to Luke 6:32, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, John 15:10, or any number of other places where love is discussed in different ways in the Bible. If you want to structure your study of the Bible in this way, you might want to find a Bible guide that lists verses by topic or even make your own lists as you’re reading! Small group Bible studies can be a great place to come together and share your findings with other believers and a chance to work together on finding passages that teach about certain topics.
What if you’d rather put your Bible study “on shuffle”? (Well, at least a small part of it.) There are resources out there that can help you find random Bible verses to enhance your study, but another method of adding in verses from all over the Bible is to participate in a “verse-a-day” program, where Bible verses are chosen and sent out to a big group of believers.
Church.org is a non-denominational site dedicated to providing resources for all Christians everywhere. You can check out their website to find more details about what they offer, but one resource you might like is their “verse-a-day” notification, which will send you a Bible verse every day to help you keep God’s Word in your life more frequently and maybe even get you looking in places in the Bible where you don’t normally read as much. You probably already get phone and email notifications from lots of other sources; why not add in an inspirational source that’s meant just for believers as well and brighten up your notification feed? Sign up for a verse-a-day from Church.org!
No matter what you’re looking for from your New Year’s resolutions, you’ll never go wrong with adding in a little Biblical inspiration to your efforts at self-improvement. Let Jesus help you and God’s word inspire you as you’re setting and working to keep your goals!