Welcome to a new year! The beginning of a calendar year provides ample opportunity to reflect on the past, dream about the future, and implement plans for becoming the type of person you want to be. But if you are like me, setting goals or resolutions and sticking to them can be challenging.

Over the past few years there is really only one New Year’s resolution I successfully incorporated into my daily routine, and it’s a ridiculous one – but hear me out.

A couple of years ago I resolved to turn my socks right side out when taking them off at the end of the day before putting them into the laundry basket. Why, you might be asking?

Well, every time I did the laundry I found myself getting frustrated that I had to turn nearly every sock right side out before matching them and putting them away. It was at that moment that I decided to help myself and develop a new habit. 

To this day, now three years later, I turn my socks right side out every time I take them off. A true win! 

Chapel Service

If there is one thing I know to be a part of the human condition, it is that new habits or routines are difficult to implement in our lives. This is even more true for character traits we hope to become more a part of how we live our lives as followers of Christ.

In the first several weeks of chapel this spring we are exploring the Fruits of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5. Here is what Paul writes:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Who among us would not like to exhibit more of the qualities in our daily interactions with others? It has been encouraging for me to read this passage over and over, to hear our chapel speakers dig deeply into each of these characteristics, and how Jesus exhibited them in his life – and how we, as followers of Christ, are called to embody them just as Jesus did.

Students Chatting in the Quad

But here is the catch. It doesn’t happen by willpower or by some accident. No, the way these things show up in our lives is found at the end of the passage:

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

We don’t become more loving, joyful or peaceful by trying harder to be those things, but by being people who, in all things, seek to live life with the Spirit. As we live life by the Spirit, these things will grow in us because of the Spirit, and others will be drawn to Jesus. May this be our New Year’s resolution: to walk in step with the Spirit!

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