My pastor recently preached a sermon on II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” Are you expecting God to do new and exciting things in 2o16, in your life and relationships?
For this to happen there must be some type of spiritual discipline that goes beyond going to church or being involved in religious activities. Here are some suggestions: Read through the entire Bible this year, write verses on 3 by 5 cards to memorize and meditate on, read a non-bible book a month that will help mature you in your Christian walk, or focus on prayer and fasting.
Shut out worldly distractions. Take a day of rest every week, ceasing from all labor to reflect and focus on God and his working in your life. Cut out all social media and news one day a week. Instead of being on Facebook, look into the face of the Savior. Turn off the television, radio, video games, and iPads. Just have some times of silence at various times throughout the year. Why would God want to speak to you if all of these things are blaring away demanding your attention? Isaiah 28:23 says “Give ear and hear my voice, listen, and hear my words.” Living a life of discipline and obedience free of noise and distraction will enable you to be in tune with what God wants to do in and through your life.
Allow God this new year to work in ways that you never imagined. Don’t be content with being an average Christian, or living a status quo Christian life. Through the power and grace of God, seek to have restored relationships, victory over wrong habits and addictions, divine healing (both emotional and physical), and fresh new insights from scripture, to name a few examples.
Are there God-given dreams you need to pursue this year? New opportunities to minister? Seek your spiritual gift and begin putting it to use. Is there some step of faith and obedience you need to take? Might you be able to say the words of Isaiah 64:3, “You did awesome things which I did not expect.” Settle for nothing less than God’s best. Keep a journal throughout the year of all the ways God is working in your spiritual life, in your circumstances, and in your relationships.
At the end of 2016 will you have experienced all that God has for you? Will you have become the person God can make you into? Or will there be a gap between God’s best and what could have been?