It only takes a couple of weeks into the new year for some of those “new year, new me” plans to fall by the wayside. The fact of the matter is that good and bad habits are tough to change.
And yet, if you asked someone about their New Year’s resolutions and they responded, “I’m pretty much good on everything. I don’t need to improve or change anything in my life,” you would rightly be a little surprised.
To strike the balance between over-reliance on audacious goals and general apathy toward them, allow us to offer the following as practical habits for spiritual growth in the new year (and every year, for that matter):
Inventory your Identity
Let’s start at the heart. To put it bluntly, each of us is a walking, talking, lie factory when it comes to assessing ourselves. Whether we’re aware of it or not, each of us is churning out false ideas of who we are, and subsequently living as if those lies are true.
- “I’m defective.”
- “I’m weak.”
- “I’m not the man/woman God wants me to be.”
These lines of thinking bring our focus down to the ground beneath our two feet, and take our eyes off the Savior who sets us free.
If our hope is in Him, all of those thoughts are put in the past tense because even though we are dealing with them now, they have already been dealt with.
- I haven’t been effective in this area, but Christ…
- I have been weak before, but Christ…
- I haven’t felt like the man/woman God has called me to be, but Christ…
Let’s make sure we are taking these thoughts captive this year and putting them in their proper tense and subjection in relation to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Savor your Sabbath
We feel pretty comfortable agreeing with the rest of the Ten Commandments, but setting apart a Sabbath day of rest looks more and more like a nice suggestion in our current culture.
The Pharisees didn’t really help us in this area, either. Their Sabbath rules were a primary tool that Jesus used to show just how lost they really were.
But do we really think Jesus would commend filling our Sundays with mindless TV, leftover chores, and catching up on work? Can that really be described as keeping the Sabbath holy?
With that in mind, we’ve created this list of 87 rules to follow to make sure you are keeping the Sabbath….
In all seriousness though, what are you doing with your 52 holy days this year? How can you honor each of them more fully?
Commune with your Creator
Relationships are built on time spent together. God has made it abundantly clear, starting in the Garden with Adam and Eve, that He wishes to be in relationship with His creation.
And to that end, He has provided and prescribed to us a long list of ways to stay in touch. To put it in modern terms, He’s given us His phone number, email address, physical address, and He’s friended us on social media—if we haven’t contacted Him, that’s our fault, not His.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney is a great place to start learning more about communing with God through prayer, scripture meditation, and worship (as well as many other disciplines he details in the book).
Additionally, it would be wise to consider setting aside time for time with the Lord in at least three places that have proven to be excellent sources of spiritual nourishment:
- Outside—spend time marveling at His wondrous works.
- Alone—seek Him in prayer and meditate on His Word.
- In Community—proclaim His goodness with His people.
Baptist Church Planters exists to help church leaders build healthy disciple-making churches. If you need support or resources to generate real and sustainable fruit in the life of your church, please reach out to us today. We’d love to help.