As we begin a new year, I urge you to take the time to reflect on your life to determine how you might more effectively carry out the commands of Christ. Reflection is not something that most of us do well, if at all. In our hurried lifestyles, we spare little time for introspection that could lead to improvement in the areas of life most important to us. Every January brings a fresh and exciting new start brimming with possibilities; these opportunities will pass us by unless we carefully pause and consider how we might make the best use of them. So set aside an hour or two this week to spend in prayer, asking God to reveal aspects of your life where you could serve Him better. I think you’ll find it to be some of the most useful time you have ever spent.
As followers of Jesus, our whole intent should be to live a life that looks like Christ. Take one area at a time and focus your prayers and thoughts on that area. You might start with your finances; ask God to help you wisely steward the money He has given you to manage. Examine how you have spent money over the past year and determine if it has been in a way that would be pleasing to God. Should you give more to missions overseas, to your local church or to the widow living next door? Have you perhaps been spending too much money on acquiring “stuff” that has no eternal value? Pray honestly and ask God to reveal the areas in which your spending does not align with His Kingdom purpose. Write down everything you learn from this time as it will be quickly forgotten and discarded if you do not.
How about your time? Are you spending it on things that will further the mission of Jesus or are you selfishly hoarding it for yourself? Do you take a moment to help those you see in need, or do you walk by thinking only of your own schedule? Ask God to help you see the countless opportunities for service that surround you every day, and to not only see them but to take action when you do. Read through Matthew 25:31-46 and examine whether or not your life has been spent doing the things Jesus commanded you to do. If not, ask Him to help you change your life so that this year you obey Him more fully and come to love Him more deeply.
As you reflect, think about your relationships with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. How might you more brightly reflect the love of Christ into their lives this year? Think also of your physical well-being; could you be a more effective servant if you changed your eating habits and improved your exercise regimen? Should you get more sleep? A healthy body provides more energy and mental clarity, thus allowing us to be more effective in every endeavor. Are you taking time each day to spend in the Word of God and in prayer with Him? Reflect on all these things, diligently seeking an answer from God as to how you can better serve Him in the year to come. Don’t make reflection just another “someday” project. Put it on your calendar for this week and spend some time planning with God to determine how He might use you in the year to come. Surrender yourself to Jesus and make this year your most satisfying and fulfilling year yet in pursuit of the mission of Christ.