Good Day, Friends~
Today I put ‘Christmas’ away—the ornaments, the garlands, lights, my holiday music, and my Nativity set. It is always sad for me because it means celebrating baby Jesus is over for the year; on the other hand, it is the start of a new year, and a new year is always full of possibilities, which is exciting! I'm not really so big on New Year's resolutions because too often they seem to land in the scrap pile, however, I am partial to introspection, and goal setting.
So as we embark on 2013, may I ask you, “for whom or for what will you live?” I mean, really, what will you give your life to, this year? I am challenged by my beloved apostle Paul’s simplistic life view: “For to me, living means living for Christ.”1 Are you ready to re-up? Decide today that as this New Year begins you will live for Christ!
Paul said, 'Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ'2 … having just studied together the book of John and the life of Christ, we know the disciplines of Christ are invaluable. Disciplines, (spiritual and otherwise), learned and practiced, free us to become who we are meant to become. Discipline involves training, whether for physical or spiritual growth~ 'Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.' (The Corinthian people were very familiar with the Olympian games, including foot races where the prize was a perishable wreath) 'So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.'3
Note to self: Discipline frees us to become who we were meant to be.
What do you think God would envision for your spiritual growth in 2013? Purposing to consume a healthy diet, get good exercise, and rest well are all parts of physical training. Strides in your spiritual condition can also be made through training. Now, here’s the funny thing—some of you want a ‘get spiritually mature’ in 7 days kind of plan. I am sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. Your body didn’t become mature in seven days, it won’t get ‘fit’ in seven days, and neither will your soul.
Just how might you go about spiritual training?
>Read and study Scripture, like these Morning Briefings--Get to know your Maker and his plans for you
>Pray - talk to your Father, like you do a friend, and seek his wisdom and direction daily. The psalmist wrote, “Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in him, and he will do it.4
>Do you worship God? Oh, how he loves that! (While worship includes meeting together with other like-minded people in a set-apart place to lift up the name of God, it is not limited to that. You can live your life in a state of worship, doing all that you do the glory of God.)
>Serve God by serving others, and giving of you to them.
Would you like to grow in any of these areas this year? How so? _________________________________________________________
What is your plan to make it happen?_____________________________
Without a vision, the people perish . . . so live your life on purpose. Let's do some thinking and praying, and then determine how we want to finish this New Year we have been given. Go ahead--enVISION yourself crossing the finish line, with your chest pressed out, breaking the tape--!
Let's make it a Blessed New Year . . . ready, set, go!
1 Philippians 1.21
2 1 Corinthians 11.1
3 1 Corinthians 9.24ff
4 Psalm 37.5