But one thing I've learned as I've grown older is that if I bring into the new year all the not-so-great habits of the old year, I've fallen behind before I even got started. Habits like eating too much junk and not enough veggies and fruit. Not getting enough exercise. Not spending enough quality time with my husband. Wasting too much time on the Internet and TV. Making "resolutions" is fine--I've sorta made one for this year that I've sorta kept so far--but making real change is the key.
The greatest and most important change for every single one of us in 2012 is to gain a deeper walk with God. Every year, no matter how long we've been a Christian or if we are a Christian at all, we have new opportunities for spiritual growth. Every year God wants to take us deeper, draw us closer to Himself, but all too often our old habits get in the way. We're too busy to spend time in the Word or serve in the church. We're too distracted to pray more than a quick "Hi, how ya doin', God?" type prayer before we hurry out the door. Maybe going to church isn't a priority even though you know it's a place to regenerate and help you get ready to face a world where sin is the norm. Sometimes our own opinions about God are the very thing keeping us from knowing Him more.
Ephesians 4:22-24 tells us: "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
Put on the new self!
Those are awesome words for a new year, don't you think? I'm going to do my best to put away old habits that may have kept me from going deeper in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I've been a Christian all my life, but it wasn't until the age of 28 that I truly surrendered everything to Jesus. Since then I've learned so much, grown so much, but I'm not "there" yet. I haven't learned everything there is to learn. I haven't reached a place in my spiritual maturity where I can sit back and say, "Ahhh, made it!" And honestly, I don't think we ever do, no matter how long we live or how long we serve God.
Here is my list of how I plan to go deeper in 2012. Most of these I already do now or try to do on some level, but it's a good reminder to stay faithful. I encourage you to make your own list today!
- Start every day in the Word! Every. Single. Day!
- Spend more time in prayer talking to my Lord. Can't have a relationship without conversation!
- Listen more! We often can't hear God because we're talking so much and not listening.
- To be like God in true righteousness and holiness. That's big!
- Stay faithful in my tithe, no matter the stacks of bills.
- Go to His house at least once a week. (If you don't have a church home, I encourage you to find a Bible-believing, growing church in 2012!)
- Look for more ways to serve in the church.
- Look for more ways to serve outside of the church in our community.
- Turn off the TV and read more books on the Christian life, whether fiction or non-fiction.
- Share what God has done for me with others.
- Smile! Be a happy Christian!
Let's make 2012 the best year ever!
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, Canada, Germany, Russia, China, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, Malaysia, Pakistan, Israel, France