How could you better serve Christ in the coming year? In what ways could you intentionally change your life that would allow you to walk more closely with Him? It should be our goal to always be striving to look more like Jesus, to walk more closely in His footsteps. This won’t just happen, we must purposefully decide to seek Him more fully and make a plan for how to do that. If we want our relationship with Christ to grow more in the next year, if we want to live our lives fully devoted to Him, it must begin with a conscious decision and disciplined follow-through. I’ve got three ideas to help you in this endeavor.
- Pray daily. You can’t draw closer to someone you don’t know; therefore it’s important to set aside some time each day to talk with God. It can be as little as five minutes or as long as you want. The important thing is to make certain it happens every day. First thing in the morning is probably best because it helps to set the tone for your day. If you don’t know what to say, then simply tell Him that you are here and listening. Ask Him to show you how you can better model His mission in your life. Request that He reveal areas of your life on which you need to work. Thank Him for His provision. Praise Him for sending Jesus to die in your place. There is no magic formula; just talk with Him and leave plenty of space to just be still and listen.
- Decide what you must stop doing. Each of us has habits that are toxic to our spiritual growth. From wasting time to habitual sins to painful addictions. We all are broken and have fallen into practices that are undermining our ability to grow. We cannot be the person God created us to be until we surrender control of every area of our lives (see “Inside Out”). Choose one destructive behavior to stop doing, and then diligently focus on that for three weeks. Keep a journal of your progress. Definitely spend some of your prayer time asking God to help rid you of this habit. After three weeks, pick a new behavior to change (but don’t go back and start doing the first one again!). This should be a lifelong discipline. I’ve yet to meet someone who has shaken off every bad behavior in their life.
- Determine what you should begin doing. Just as you need to stop the bad habits, it’s important to gain some new good habits. Find some Godly people you admire and observe their lives. What habits do they employ that make them a good role model? What if you started practicing those same things in your own life? Use the three week rule again, because this is how long many experts say it takes to develop an actual habit. Exhibit your desired new behavior every day for three weeks; by the end of the year, you’ll have added 17 or 18 good habits!
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. God created you for excellence, not mediocrity. You’ll never fulfill the potential He placed inside of you until you determine to stretch yourself. Each of us can do better. We all can draw closer to Christ. We all can serve others better and reflect the love of Jesus brighter. Don’t stay where you are. Get intentional, develop a plan, and serve better.