Our culture is notorious for the New Year’s Resolution. The idea is that the New Year is here and now is the time to decide you are going to put off some of those bad habits and turn a corner. Maybe you were not working out before, but you are going to now. The point being, as the calendar rolls around, this is the time to consider a change (because heaven forbid we start working out in October! ;)
For many, however, the resolution is dead on arrival and, by February, all those lofty ideals are forgotten, and the old way settles back in.
Christians know that, without a true heart change, all we are doing is nailing dead fruit to a tree—give it enough time and that fruit will fall right off (Eph. 4:22-24.) What then is the Christian supposed to do? Should we abandon resolutions? Yes and No. Yes, we should throw off the way in which the world seeks to change, but we should see the new year as a strategic time to consider how we should grow to become like Christ. In this blog series, we are going to consider one way to use the New Year as a time to reflect and to grow.
The Plan for the Plan
First, we will examine a Personal Improvement Plan. Instead of making resolutions that are filled with lofty ideals, a plan will be a concrete document that you and your accountability partner will go back to time and time again as you take steps of growth.
Second, an essential aspect to communion with God and growing to be like Jesus is a robust prayer life. However, just like reading the Bible, most Christians want to pray but simply do not know what to do with the time that they have. This series of posts will seek to lay out tools for growing in your prayer life.
Third, we will examine what is a way (not the only way) to engage with the Bible on a daily basis. For many, the daily habit of consuming God’s word is not a regular practice, so one of the goals will be to read the Bible and try to apply it. On top of this there is always the questions of, “Where should I start?” and “What do I do?” Post #2 of this blog series will seek to answer these questions, and more.
Fourth, and finally, we will examine the importance of having a meaningful accountability relationship and what that relationship should look like. Most Christians agree that having good accountability is essential for growth, but they either do not have accountability in their life, or, if they do, they do not know how to utilize that time well. This series of posts will seek to lay out tools for how accountability can be done with two (or possibly more) Christians in a productive and meaningful way.
Why Do it?
You might be considering though, “Why should I do this?” and the reason is that growth is an expected part of the life of the Christian by God. For the Christian that plans to “let go and let God” they will find themselves on the wrong side of scripture if they ‘let it go’ and don’t grow. Repeatedly, God tell us things like, “Work out your salvation” (Phil 2:12) and “Grow in grace and knowledge” (2 Peter 3:18). God requires us to labor in our hearts to change to be more like Christ. As you seek to change to become more like Jesus, God will work in you (Phil. 2:13). It is such great news that this is not just an effort performed by us alone, but one of God. Unfortunately, and often, Christians forget that God calls them to work on growing. Change is not something that God is only doing, he calls us to work on change. As we labor in our hearts—God promises that He will work in us.
Pick up the Toolbox
Join us for the next four posts in this series as we seek to lay out a set of tools that can help you grow. Remember, these are just tools. They are not the way it MUST be done. Rather, they are tried and tested methods that have worked for some. If they do not work for you, then – just like a tool that you have in your garage—don’t use it. However, what you can’t do is say, “Well, that didn’t work, so I give up.” If the methods laid out for you are not helpful, then keep looking!