After we have stuffed ourselves with holiday cookies, pies, and pastries, we vow to repair the damage we have inflicted on our waistlines. We are determined to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier; the list goes on. We tell ourselves that the new year will be better if we can only meet our goals.
Setting goals is a great thing. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” (or something like that). Improving your health is undoubtedly a worthy goal. Exercising is a great habit to create. But as we move into a new year, I would like to encourage you not to neglect spiritual goals. Let’s not forget that the condition of our hearts before God is what is most important. Here are a few ideas to add to your new year goals.
The world dangles enticing baubles in front of our eyes every day. When we take our eyes off of Jesus and gaze at the world, we start to lose focus on what is truly valuable. Television, movies, music, and social media so easily entice us with concepts and ideas that are not inline with Biblical truth. An entertainment/social media fast can reshift our focus back to the beautiful face of our Savior.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.Psalm 51:10 KJV
One of the best ways to shake off the blues is to turn outward. Serving others brings joy and reward. Take time to pray and make a list of the people that God brings to mind. They might be your neighbors, the children at your local orphanage, or the persecuted believers in another country. Find ways to serve and pray for these people intentionally.
As we have, therefore, opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.Galatians 6:10 KJV
Reading the Word is a necessary habit. Without His Words of Life, we become weary and weak. Commit to reading and studying a new book in the Bible or find a good reading plan to keep you on track. A great supplement to Bible study are stories of the great missionaries throughout history. These stories will work to encourage and inspire you onward in your Christian walk.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV
Memorizing Bible verses is something we probably practiced in Sunday school or Awana. Too often that habit ends with childhood. Storing away verse after beautiful verse in our hearts should be a priority. Make a list of verses or passages that are important to you and commit them to memory.
Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:11 NKJV
May your new year be full of purpose, fulfillment, and joy, and may we all grow ever closer to our loving Savior until He returns for us!