New Year, New You?
"For it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for his good pleasure."
Happy New Year!
You are now seven days into the new year…how are those resolutions holding up?
With the reset of the annual calendar, we all experience a renewed energy to pursue the things we know we should be doing. Goals related to health are most common, but many of you have also made resolutions for your faith “F”.
Perhaps you have set a new goal for Bible study, prayer, memorization, or some other spiritual discipline. Unfortunately, these spiritual resolutions will have the same fate as the nonspiritual ones. This is because January 1st is nothing magical, and the high we experience in setting these goals will not carry them to completion.
Check Your Motives First
Consider your motives to insert these disciplines into our life. Is it for the appearance of spiritual maturity or is it a necessary duty to remain on God’s good side?
I have often had wrong motives while attempting to read through the Bible chronologically. I feel embarrassed thinking this is something a mature believer would have already done, yet I haven’t. Countless times I have begun this task only to be discouraged when I fell behind on the reading schedule. By doing this, I reduced Bible reading to a token to be achieved like a boy scout badge.
Means to a Deeper End
How should we approach the spiritual disciplines? We must realize that they are means, not ends. A resolution to read the Bible more is noble, but it falls short of God’s desire for us to know him fully through his written word.
In his book “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life”, Donald Whitney explains that maturing as a believer simply means to live more like Christ and that God will primarily accomplish this through a lifelong application of the spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are the means to the end of becoming more like Christ.
Avoid this Mistake in 2022
As you consider the reset of the new year, avoid making spiritual disciplines themselves the target and aim for the higher goal of Christlikeness. Would Christ be concerned with the number of days you consecutively read the scriptures or would he want to see evidence that the Word of God has taken root in your mind?
Start with God
Pray that God will give you the discipline to stay the course, because ultimately, he is the initiator and the sustainer of any spiritual growth.
"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."