I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions. Never really have been. But I do like to make some overarching goals. Last year I said I wanted to get my hands dirty – to get more involved in serving others, face-to-face, not from my safeguarded normal distance. I think I did an okay job at it, but really need to do that so much more. So that one will continue.
This year one of my goals is to really figure out how to, and make it a priority to, really bask in the Lord’s Presence. To study and memorize Scripture more, not just read it. To have a deeper, fuller prayer life. I want to walk closer with the Lord and be able to discern His voice in my daily life. I want a stronger sense of joy & peace that has nothing to do with my circumstances, that can only come from a close relationship with Him, and I want that to radiate out of me and be clearly evident to others. This is clearly more than just a one year process, but at least I can focus on getting better at it this year.
I am currently reading Crazy Love, by Francis Chan (finally!). It is an excellent book. I am only halfway through, but I already want to re-read it and do some serious underlining. I will have to write more about it later, in a separate post, but one of the chapters that really got to me talks about the “profile of the lukewarm” Christian. Reading it was like a serious punch to the gut. My friend Maegan Roper did an excellent job of recapping this chapter. So I’ll just link you over to her blog here if you’re interested in reading more. He goes through a series of characteristics that profile the lukewarm and here are just a couple that made me wince. Lukewarm people…:
-give money to charity and to the church, as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.
-are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones.
-rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, and friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.
-will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.
-do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their savings account… They don’t depend on God on a daily basis, their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health…
I’m afraid I am far too lukewarm and I don’t like it.
I wrote a post in September (you can read it here) about one particular lesson I was learning: Before God reveals to us our grand life purpose, he has some testing and refining to do in us. I feel like I am in a season of testing and refining, and this is definitely part of that. I want to be ready when called upon… to be trusted with my grand life purpose. Much of that means that I need to be a better disciple.
So I have also decided to read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young this year. It is a 365 day devotional written from the perspective of Jesus talking directly to us. Each day there is a page long (or less) entry to read. January 1st started off with a bang. Just what I needed to read as encouragement to kick off this year of being a better disciple:
“Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. A close walk with Me is a life of continual newness. Do not cling to old ways as you step into the new year. Instead, seek My Face with an open mind, knowing that your journey with Me involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind… I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure of increasing attentiveness to My Presence.” -From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young
I’m off to one good start at least. I told you in my “Craving Scripture” post how I started the challenge with my church to read through the New Testament from October 1st to the end of the year. I’m glad to report that I kept up and finished on time! First time I’ve ever gone straight through the New Testament in order, and that quickly. Now I want to go back and do it again, this time slower, so that I have time to soak in the words and really study them. I’m also going to work on picking out significant/favorite verses and committing them to memory.
To my family & friends – I give you full permission to check up on me this year. Ask me how I’m doing with this goal of basking in the Lord’s Presence. It’s a lot to work on, but encouragement and accountability definitely helps.
What goals have you set for the new year?