How will you serve Jesus in the year ahead? In what ways will your life reflect the love and character of God? What new disciplines will you implement to facilitate your spiritual growth? We are a people given to new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. There is something exciting in being given a clean slate, an opportunity to begin again from scratch. We don’t need the beginning of a New Year for this; we can choose a fresh start at any time. Still, when the New Year does roll around, most begin excitedly thinking and planning for the possibilities the next year might hold. This is a great time to honestly evaluate your walk with Christ and prayerfully consider how you might better serve Him in the year to come.
I think the best way to begin a fresh start is to spend some time thanking God for the blessings of the past. It helps give you some perspective on how God has been with you to this point in your life, how He has cared for you and guided you through some rough periods. It’s easy to get so wrapped up within what’s going on in our lives at this moment that we lose sight of everything we have and everything God has done.
It is valuable to look back before looking ahead. Was there a time in your life that you felt closer to God? What was going on during that period? Are there things you were doing then that you stopped doing for one reason or the other? Could you reinstitute those activities and disciplines into your life over the next year?
The second step to a fresh start is spending time in prayer asking God what He would have you do in this season of your life. This should be hard, earnest prayer, the kind that finds you on your face worshipping and praising Him as you ask for His wisdom and guidance. Quick, drive-by prayers won’t cut it here. You need to set aside some serious time to seek His face.
Read some favorite Bible passages and ask God to show you how what you are reading could be lived out in your own life. Spend some time in Proverbs, Psalms, and the Gospels. Skim through the writings of Paul, James, and Peter. What stirs your heart? What passages call you to implement something new in your life?
Finally, the third and most important step is to take action. Make a plan to put into practice the things that God has revealed to you. Get rid of the things about which you may have been convicted as you sought the Lord. Pray regularly. Read the Bible every day. Pick up other books written by people of God to encourage you and add to your knowledge of God (see my recommended reading list for some ideas). Today is a great time for a fresh start. Make this the year you pursue Jesus with all of your heart, mind, and soul (Mark 12:30). Make this the year you follow Him more and serve people better. Make this the year you live His love out loud.