3 resolutions that really do matter in 2024

2024 is here, and with it… Well, it’s about the same as yesterday really. At least for the moment because, as those of us who live in the United States know all too well already, 2024 is going to be a wild ride.1

But with the start of a new year comes a new opportunity to reflect on how we live out our faith.2 To pursue Jesus more faithfully and love others more consistently when we’re constantly tempted to forsake both. To embrace a faux-Christianity that has no power or value in the world because it is exactly like the world.

I don’t want that for me, my family, or my church. I don’t want that for you, either. So what can we do about it? While I don’t love the language of resolutions, per se (because who remembers those a week after), I do think there is some value in being resolved, being committed, to focusing on areas where are faith and witness might be weak. Here are three resolutions that I am committed to.

1. Love the way Jesus loves

Jesus said that his disciples would be known by one thing: our love for one another (John 13:35). We should be be radically service-oriented in our relationships with one another—and to our neighbors (including those who count themselves as our “enemies”)—that it puts all who see us to shame (Romans 12:20).

This is who the church has historically been. It is who we still are in many parts of the world—and even here in the United States, although it has often been obscured by scandal and sin that has been allowed to fester and spread among us. And it is what we need to recapture for ourselves in this moment.

2. Reject evil wherever we see it

There are always going to be people who want to use Christians to further their own ends. Some of them profess to be Christians, though many make no pretense at following Jesus. This has been a problem since the first days of the church (see Ephesians 5:6–14).3 But as Paul commanded, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).

This is a costly commitment, but a necessary one. It requires honest repentance for our complicity. Our sin in playing the world’s game the world’s way, biting and devouring one another (Galatians 5:15), and using wrong means to justify so-called good ends. In keeping silent about evil out of fear of reprisal, a desire to protect institutions, or idolizing people.4 Making room for sin does not honor Jesus. It does not further the gospel. It only leads to Jesus saying, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21–23).

3. Live in genuine hope because of Jesus

The overarching message of any election year in the United States is one of fear. Fear of losing “our” way of life, or of what the ambiguous “they” might do if elected.5 It’s the same message that we get from every cable news station and most of social media. And there’s the thing: fear doesn’t lead to flourishing—to being healthy, vibrant, fruitful people known for our love of Christ.

But Christians are not given a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). That is what the Holy Spirit offers us—what he does in our lives as we follow Jesus day-by-day. So in this year, as in every other, we need to live in that Spirit. To live as those who have genuine hope—because we do! We know who is the true king of the universe. It is Jesus. We know that he is in authority over all things; he is making all things new. And there is no power or principality that can stop him.

Turn off cable news. (Forever.) Delete whatever social media platforms drive you to despair. Remember that what Jesus said to John is what he says to us as well, “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I hold the keys of death and of Hades!” (Revelation 1:17–18)

Resolutions that matter for today

If these seem familiar, it’s because they are. They are out-workings of convictional kindness. None of these resolutions will be easy. They will all challenge us in one way or another. They will all cost us if we commit ourselves to them. But they are what we need in a year where our allegiance to Jesus will continue to be tested, and where our love for one another will be challenged. But these are the resolutions I’m committed to—and I hope you will join me in that commitment.

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

  1. Election years are the best. And by “best,” I mean the absolute worst. And that’s all I’m going to say about politics this week. ↩︎
  2. We have this same opportunity with the start of every new month, week, and day. ↩︎
  3. It’s also a sin the Moral Majority baptized with its formation the late 1970s. ↩︎
  4. I’ll be returning to this theme in the coming days. ↩︎
  5. This equally applies to both sides of the aisle. It also applies in my homeland of Canada. ↩︎

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.