This is the time of year that many people are thinking about their New Years resolutions. There are also a lot of folks saying things like, “I go through this resolution stuff every year only to give up after a few weeks,” or, “My New Years resolution is to not make any resolutions.” I certainly resonate with those sentiments; I can’t tell you how many things I’ve started and never finished.
But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Every day is a new opportunity to do something different, something better. New Years is as good a time as any, and maybe even better because it is a natural threshold.
Many make great-sounding, well-meaning New Years resolutions, but they are often just that, lacking any real passion, clarity, specifics, or direction. As my friend and fellow co-founder, Tim McNamara recently pointed out, that doesn’t work so well for the long run.
If we want to move forward with wisdom and work toward lasting transformation, we have to ask God what he has in mind for us. If we are willing to do that, I believe there is some real spiritual momentum to be gained in the upcoming year.
Key Questions To Answer in 2016
Think around these key areas to help determine what kind of year you’ve had…from His perspective. Your answers will be revealing about what God has in mind for you in the coming year:
Did you spend more time with God in 2015 than in 2014?
Everything we are or do comes out of our relationship with Christ. As we grow to know Him better we are more able to hear His voice. The more clearly we hear Him, the more intimate our fellowship with Him. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you;” everything hinges on this!
Are your family relationships strengthened?
Were you able to spend more, or at least higher quality, time with your family? We need to look at these relationships right after our relationship with God. We can’t really get closer to God and not be drawn to love and serve our family more and better.
Are your other relationships strengthened?
Just as with our family above, a right relationship with God produces right relationships around us. The Gospel is at its core, relational. Are you making the shift to see others as objects of your personal ministry rather than means to an end? Are you making the shift to see yourself as a servant rather than as one to be served? Did you have the weighty conversations you needed to, or did you avoid them?
Are you are less concerned about possessions?
The urge to acquire more things is not usually of the Spirit, but of the insecure flesh. If you’ve removed yourself, even a little, from the grasp of materialism and are more able to steward your gifts with an open hand before the Lord, you’ve made progress. Did you find yourself more generous last year, or protective of your resources?
Are you truly more thankful for what you have and content with your present lot in life?
Spiritual maturity brings with it a contentment that comes from the awareness of what God has done for us by grace. What do we have that we deserve? Can you say, “Thank You, Father…I already have more than I deserve or need,” and really mean it?
Do you have a greater sense of peace?
Spiritual maturity, and the peace that comes with it, is dependent on abiding in our God who never changes. Do you more clearly see God’s hand in your circumstances? Do you trust Him more, even if it is a bit dicey right now?
Have you learned more about your profession and are able to apply greater technical expertise in your field?
Do you believe that your ability to work is a gift from God, and as a steward you’re to work for Him with excellence? Did you find the time and will to learn and apply better ways to do so? If you are retried, have you found anyone you can mentor out of your years of experience?
Did you take better care of your body?
Did you get the exercise you need? Was your diet better than last year? The way we care for our body is one measure of our self-control and a visible part of our witness. Mastery of self is one of the keys to spiritual growth.
Can you see more eternal fruit being produced through and around you?
Has your intimacy and obedience to God in what you say, do, and are, influenced others to move towards God in their thoughts and actions.
…So, how did you do?
I know these are heavy-duty questions, but honestly, they are the kind of questions Christ asks us, aren’t they?
As you move into 2016, with the answers to the above questions in mind, ask yourself, “What does God want from me and for me in this coming year? What is God calling me into? Where am I resisting? How can I better move with Him in 2016?” Starting the year with these kind of questions can produce great fruit. Trust me, He wants to answer them.
If you have some inclinations about what God has for you, but don’t know quite where to start, I invite you to consider attending our Band of Brothers Workshop on Saturday, January 9, 2016.
This workshop is designed to help you hear from God, equip you to live more fully into who and what He is calling you to do and be, in and with the company of other men who are serious about their own spiritual formation. We really don’t do it alone very well; we need others.
The content draws on the teachings of John Eldredge of Ransomed Heart Ministries and Terry Walling of LeaderBreakthru, covering such topics as:
1. Born for Battle: Our Place in the Story
2. Defining Moments: How God Shapes a Destiny
3. Life Messages: How God Shaped Your Destiny
4. Wounded in Action: Treaties with the Enemy
5. Battle Fronts: Life Domains (Personal, Family, Work, Community, & Church)
6. Next Steps: Leading/Participating in a Band of Brothers
Coming out of this workshop, you’ll have some clearer answers to all of these questions, identified some insightful patterns (positive and negative), clear priorities and some real next steps to engage 2016!
To find out more, or to register, please click here. Hope you will join us.
Praying a blessed New Year for you and yours,
Co-Founder & Executive Director – New 4RMations