A New You in the New Year

This article is an excerpt out of Ideas for Parents: A Collection of Tips, Insights, and Activities for Real-World Parenting by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon.  For more information on this book and/or to purchase it, please click here.

Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26    

Take a few minutes to read through Galatians 5:16-26 in light of beginning a new year. Think about this passage from the perspective of your child’s opportunity to make a fresh start.

You can help your child think through the issues such as where the power to change for the better really comes from; how growing spiritually is similar to and different from just getting better grades of getting in shape; what the “obvious sins” are; and what someone who’s becoming more “like Jesus” should start to look like.

Use a few of these questions below to gauge your child’s understanding of Spirit-led change in a believer’s life and to introduce a teachable moment or two into an anywhere conversation.

Talking Points

Are you thinking about making any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, what are they?

Do you think it’s more important to do fewer negative things or to do more positive things in this next year?

Does the idea of a new year help motivate you to try harder again in some areas in which you’d like to improve?

Do you think the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life can make it easier for us to change and grow? Does that help with sports and relationships—or just with spiritual kind of things?

What would you say are the top five or ten most obvious sins people struggle with?

Do you think someone could be doing all of those sins regularly and still be a Christian?

Besides not sinning, how should a Christian look and act differently from unsaved people? Should there be any noticeable differences?

Here is a listing of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Which of these do you see the most of in our family? Which do you see the least? Which ones would you like to see more of in me?