Christmas is now a memory we’ll treasure and we’re into the New Year. Most of us made New Year resolutions. We will strive to be successful, achieve higher results, improve and make changes. We hope to fulfill our dreams, goals and expectations we’ve set before us. We desire a better year than the last and some of us may choose to forget the year gone by; it’s trials and challenges.
We’re aspiring to love our spouses, spend more time with the children, tackle projects we never got to last year and step up our involvement in the church. We plan to initiate exercise into our daily routines and set a high standard of healthier eating. We’ll Detox, drop the caffeine and give up chocolate.
These aspirations are fantastic, prolific and essential, but have we considered our spiritual goals and growth for this year? We have a new start, a new beginning and we should use it well. The best way: to examine your ways – and to test them!
There are many areas I seek to grow in my faith. Realistically speaking, I can’t accomplish any area well enough in a small time frame to make it stick. One week, one month or even a term is not sufficient for me to bear the fruits of what I’m learning. I need a year. Yes! A whole year.
“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the deserts.” Isaiah 43:19
So as I ponder my goals which I’d like to achieve this year, I’m reflecting on my walk with Christ. I’m asking questions like how have I grown in my faith, what do I desire to learn and understand and where is God leading me?
Last year I sought to understand God’s grace and how it is a free, generous and undeserving gift. I’d seen God’s grace taken advantage of and didn’t want to act presumptuously or seem ungrateful for it. I learnt how to accept this free gift, understand it and express it to those around me as God had shown it towards me.
This year, I desire to learn how to abide in Christ. I’ve chosen John 15:1-11 to memorize and meditate on. I shall dedicate my Bible studies and devotions to this subject as well as learn from men like Andrew Murray who wrote Abiding in Christ, the first book I plan to read on the subject. I’ll also listen to sermons from my favorite preachers.
It’s the season God has chosen to prune me. So I will examine my ways, test them and abide in God. It’s never an enjoyable process and it’s definitely painful. He is taking away branches that don’t bear fruit and pruning those that will. To put it bluntly, He’s cleaning house and giving my soul a worthy cleansing. During this purification process I’m learning to abide in Christ so I may find rest for my soul.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29.
I yearn to glorify my heavenly Father by bearing fruit as His disciple. The fruit of obedience to His Word, humility, meekness, patience and love towards my family and friends are among the fruits I crave to taste.
What do you desire to learn and understand most right now? Is there something you’ve been puzzling over? Turn to Jesus, search your soul, examine your way and test it. Pray asking for direction and a verse to guide your way so you may meditate on it, memorize it and live it this year. Part of the purpose of beginning a new, or changing direction is to know where you want to go. A new year is the opportune moment to reflect on such matters.
“Let us examine and probe our ways, and let us return to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40.
Do you analyze and examine you spiritual walk every new year?