New Year’s Guidance

Generally I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions.  They strike me as attempts to undo the bad decisions I made all year with one or two good decisions that give me a false optimism for what life is going to be like.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not against change, and when the calendar changes is as good a time as any to plan some, change habits, and make improvements in life.  I just prefer to set goals and focus on improving my life rather than “resolve” to take on something that is either too vague to measure or too big to attain.

To that effect, every year I like to have a particular focus in my prayer life.  It’s a “goal” for my spiritual health, if you will.  This focus helps me keep my mind on God during my day, and gives me something particular to keep in mind as I ask God to change me from the inside out.  It is simply a tool that I use to guide me as I pray, much like I have a list of ministries, people, and activities I pray for before church every Sunday.  In years past, my prayer “key” has been:

  • For God to show me how to love Him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.  I wanted so much to know what the Great Commandment meant in practice! (2007)
  • For God to show me His face.  This was a heart for me to really know God in a new and deeper level. (2008)
  • For me to have a heart to follow God, eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, and feet to follow Him.  This was a desire I had to see God in my life and a request to build in me obedience that comes from within. (2009)

Every year I can point to the growth in my life as I have prayed these prayers.  Since I began doing this as a part of my devotional life, God has really used it to make me into the man He wants me to be.  He has molded me as a husband, as a father, as a pastor, and as a man.  If you were to ask my wife she would probably agree that the last three years have been a time of significant spiritual growth for me, and part of that is a result of the growth of my prayer life in this area.

What about for 2010?  For the last month or so, God has really been working on my heart via Micah 6:8.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

What a great cry!  What a succinct statement of the desire of God for His people as individuals and as a body.  So my prayer for 2010 will be for God to show me how to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.  When I pray in the morning in 2010, this will be part of my agenda.  I always love these prayer keys, because as I continue to pray them God opens new doors of understanding and new opportunities for love and obedience out of them.

I bet you can see what my overall goals are for 2010, just from what I will be praying.  I am asking God to show me how to “do justice,” in other words how to act in ways that honor Him in everything I do.  I am looking forward to having opportunities to “love kindness,” or showing others mercy and compassion.  I am also in need of continual reminders of how to “walk humbly with my God,” or making my relationship with Christ more important than any external success I may achieve.  I know that if I allow God to have His way in me with these goals that 2010 will be a year like none I have ever had.

I hope you have goals in your spiritual life in 2010 as well.  Maybe, like me, you need a prayer “key” to help you focus. (feel free to use this verse or anything else you see on ABF!)  Maybe your spiritual goal is to truly work on a life of holiness, or to turn a particular besetting sin over to God, or to serve in ministry faithfully, or to make Bible reading a part of your life in a more meaningful way.  Whatever you do, make your walk with Christ an integral part of your 2010 “resolutions” or goal-setting.

Here’s to a great 2010 walking with Christ into a new adventure!

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