With the new year approaching, it’s a good time to reflect and examine what you have done for the Kingdom over the last year. Is your walk closer to God or further away than it was a year ago? What have you done to make a difference for Jesus? The sad fact is most Christians never give these questions a lot of thought, much less spend any time intentionally planning how they will grow closer to God and have a greater Kingdom impact on this world.
Why is that? Shouldn’t our relationship with Christ and what we do for Him be the most important thing in our lives? There’s not a single New Year’s resolution worth anything unless it furthers the Kingdom of God and draws us closer to the One who created us and gave His life for us.
What if we became as intentional about our walk with Jesus as we are about our everyday lives, ambitions, and careers? What might we accomplish in a year for Jesus? How much closer might we grow to Him? The problem is few take the time to plan their spiritual growth or Kingdom service. We claim we’ll go wherever He sends us or do whatever He tells us to, but the truth is most of us never bother to listen to what God might actually be saying to them. When we do sense His leading our initial response is to hedge, make excuses, and wait for some other verification of what we heard.
Next year can be different. We simply have to get intentional about our commitment to Him. We need a game plan that’s well thought out and written down. It’s not hard to do, but most will be too selfish with their time and never actually do this. For those ready to take their discipleship and commitment to the next level, I want to give you a couple tips on how to get this done:
Define the vision
Many people I’ve coached over the years get stuck on this point. They aren’t exactly sure what their vision should be. If you don’t know, ask God (you knew that was coming, right?). Specifically pray every day for God to give you a vision of who He created you to be, what He created you to do. As I write this, you’ve got a month to get clear on your vision. Be extremely disciplined to spend time in prayer each of the next thirty days, asking God to give you a clear vision for your life and for the next year.
Develop the strategy
With the vision defined, now you need to set some concrete goals that will lead you to accomplishing that vision. Some visions span a lifetime, so you’ll need to break it down into year sized chunks. Ask yourself, what could I accomplish this year that would move me towards fulfilling the vision God has given me? I don’t know your vision, but since I do know the will of God is to bring His Kingdom to be on earth as it is in Heaven, I have some idea of what sort of things might be in your action plans:
- Daily scheduled prayer time
- Daily scheduled time reading His Word
- Giving more generously of your resources (money, time, and/or talents)
- Reaching across cultural divides to build relationships and share Christ
- Committing yourself to unity with a group of other believers to accomplish bigger things than you could on your own
- Using your gifts in a way which draws non-believers to Christ or strengthens current believers in their faith
The list is far from exhaustive but hopefully gets the wheels turning in your head. With a vision and a strategy in place, you should be able to pull out some specific goals to work on next year. This becomes your battle plan to live a life that looks more like Jesus. One last tip: whatever you come up with, make certain to write it down and review it weekly. You’ll be amazed how much doing those two things will help you.
Finally, remember God desires to know you and to be known. He wants you to draw closer to Him. It’s the whole reason He created you, to be in relationship with Him. He’ll help you as you endeavor to live a life pleasing to Him. You need only just ask, and then act on what He gives you to do.