As January 1 is right around the corner, many people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. From kids to adults, people are trying to set themselves up for success by creating resolutions they hope will help them lose weight, read more books, or spend less time working. Some of these resolutions can seem silly or impossible or not worth doing. But as we live out our identities as children of God, it can sometimes be fun to consider ways to shine with God’s love.
If your kids have expressed interested in making New Year’s resolutions, you might consider doing this activity as a family! Not only will it bring you closer together, but it will also bring you deeper into God’s Word! Making faith-based resolutions is a great way to incorporate more focus on Jesus into the everyday life of your family.
Here are a few simple ideas to teach your kids (or the kids in your Sunday School class) to make faith-based resolutions.
Highlight Grace, Not Works
One of the most important parts of creating faith-based New Year’s resolutions—and any resolution in general—is to highlight the importance of faith, not works, to your children.
As Paul writes to the people of Ephesus: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).
So, make your resolutions, and encourage one another to stick to them, but don’t get upset if you forget to pray one day. Remind your children that our status before God is not based on anything we do but on His love for us.
Make Family Resolutions
The most important piece of advice I can give is to make your New Year’s resolutions as a family. Not only will this allow you to encourage one another and keep one another accountable, but it will also allow you as parents or guardians to lead your children in the faith.
As the Lord commanded His people in Deuteronomy: “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
Read Your Bible
Reading God’s Word together as a family is a great way to grow closer to God. Whether you follow a devotional every day, read a short passage after dinner, or read a story from a Bible story book before bedtime, your family can find a rhythm that works with your schedule.
After you read your Bible story, ask a couple of questions based on your children’s learning level. It could be something as simple as “What happened in this story?” to gauge comprehension, or something a little more complex, such as “What is Jesus teaching us here?”
Bonus: have your children take turns reading the story. This will help them grow in their literacy as well.
Praying together as a family is another great resolution. Many people are intimidated by prayer, but it can really be done at any time and in any place. Fit it into your family’s schedule. Whether you say a prayer in the car on the way to school, say an extended version of grace before meals, or gather before bed to pray, you can find a few minutes to sit together and speak to God.
If you as the guardian are a little nervous or hesitant to pray, ask God to guide you before you begin. Writing down or mentally noting some prayer requests is also helpful to guide conversation. Ask your kids what they want to pray for, and consider keeping a list or journal of prayer requests that come up. You may want to stick it on the fridge for everyone to see and add requests.
A bible created to edify and encourage early readers.