Everybody knows New Year’s resolutions are just promises made to be broken. I stopped making them a long time ago. But evaluating my spiritual life and doing a priority check? That’s something worth taking the time for as we begin a new year.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”Psalm 139:23-24, NIV
January is a great time to look back over the past year and ask God to show us any bad habits we’ve allowed to creep into our spiritual lives. Let’s start with church.
With the pandemic of 2020, many have stopped attending church, even online. Once we traded in our Sunday best in the pew for our pajamas on the couch, church attendance gave way to others priorities.
The loss of community and fellowship has hurt the faith of many because the Christian life is meant to be lived out together. We need one another to spur us on.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:24-25
Now, more than ever, we need to meet together–even if online–and encourage one another. So let us consider it, think about it, and meditate on it. How can I spur others on toward love and good deeds? Do I need to recommit myself to regular church attendance with my family? What does that look like in our current circumstances?
If your church isn’t holding in-person gatherings right now, how can you more faithfully commit to being an active part of the body of Christ? Do you need to reaffirm your commitment to get dressed and show up for online services? Do you need to join a Zoom small group or Bible study so you can be more faithfully engaged with the community of faith?
What about our personal spiritual disciplines? God wants us to put Him first and love Him best.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”Matthew 6:33
“He answered: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”‘”Luke 10:27
As we enter a new year, how can we put God first and love Him better?
- Commit to daily time with God.
- Commit to study God’s Word.
- Commit to faithful prayer.
- Commit to ________________ (You fill in the blank).
What areas of your spiritual life need attention right now? How have you grown in the last year? The fruit of the Spirit is our measure of spiritual growth and maturity.
Are you more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled? I have to admit, I still need to grow in many of these areas. But we don’t develop the fruit by trying harder or doing more.
We grow as we seek God and spend time abiding in Him. So, as we do a spiritual check, we must remember that God’s love and grace are abundant, even as we seek to realign our priorities.
His love for us does not change:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39
But our love for Him can:
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”Revelation 2:4
So, let’s begin 2021 with an honest look at our priorities. Let’s get back to our first love. Let’s ignite a fire for God that will show the world He is worthy of worship and service.
No matter what 2020 brought our way, we can walk into 2021 with a new heart and a new passion for the things of God. We can start each day seeking God first and making Him our number one priority in life.
“Since, them, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”Colossians 3:1-3
When God is the center of all we think, say, and do, we will walk in the peace, joy, and blessings that come from knowing God.
If you need a little motivation and encouragement for seeking Him first and growing your faith, check out my book Seek Him First: How to Hear from God, Walk in His Will, and Change Your World.
And don’t forget to come join us in our private Facebook group Growing Your Faith for encouragement, accountability, and support.