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I opened my new red leather journal with the gold lettering and wrote “New Year’s Resolutions 2016” on one of the first pages.   Dutifully, I scrawled “Go to the gym at least twice a week” and poised my magenta Sharpie pen over the blank page, waiting for the next idea to come to me. Instead my pen hovered. I looked at my resolution and knew it would be hard enough to do just that. Why take on anything else? So under that one I wrote, “Keep up the good work.

No matter who you are or what season of life awaits you in 2016, here is one resolution we should all make: To grow in grace. “To grow in grace” means we open ourselves to receive more from God while we also continue to pursue Him in confident expectation of blessing.

Growing in grace means we accept more grace from God than we ever have before in our life and also that we give more grace to others than we would previously have thought possible. Growing in grace involves simultaneous receiving and pouring out.

We take in more grace from God and, in turn, have more grace to give others around us. 2 Cor. 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

Growing in grace means we grow in our capacity to love and forgive ourselves first, based on the redeeming work of Christ on our behalf, and then we extend that same kindness to others. His grace strengthens our hearts with love and power, and we move toward others with that same spirit of love.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6 reminds us that we can count on God’s grace continually at work within us.

We know He won’t give up on us, even though we are spiritual idolaters and adulterers, prone to wander. When we aspire to grow in grace, we are aspiring to reach out for God’s power at work within us.

We don’t see ourselves as lifeless puppets waiting to be danced around, nor do we see ourselves as self-help saviors stomping forward over the wreckage of all our broken resolutions. We are striving to grow within the grace given to each one us, grace that is as different and unique as we are.

Growing in grace means we assume a posture of trust and confidence before the throne of God every morning, bringing our requests before Him even while we keep running the race day by day and fighting the good fight of faith.

I have no idea if the next year will find me at the gym more often, but I am convinced there will be much grace and love for me in 2016. I long to see God at work within me, helping me love myself and others more graciously, more fully.

Gym or no gym, growing in grace is a resolution we can all keep.