Here we are at the beginning of a new year…2021. I am always excited about what the Lord has in store for my family and me. The days between Christmas and the beginning of school in January are precious to me.
I look forward to the mornings when I can sit in my living room by the dim light of dawn to meditate on God’s Word and listen to His Spirit. While others search online for weight loss programs, new gadgets to burn calories, or menus for healthy eating, I’m pondering about which Bible verses will keep me focused on right living.
At the beginning of 2020, I stumbled onto a set of questions posed by a respected Christian scholar and writer to set one’s vision on Christ-like living. I’m using those same questions again as I seek the Lord’s direction for 2021.
Question 1: What are my greatest dreams for 2021? I think of Philippians 2:12-13 here. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (NASB)” How will I live out my salvation for others to see, using the gifts and talents provided to me? What ideas has the Lord placed on my heart to accomplish?
Question 2: What standards will I live by throughout the next year? This question also takes some time in prayer to answer. How do I want to be known? What standards of living will make Jesus known through my life witness? What challenges might I face this year that will require me to dig deep into Christ-like character?
Question 3: In what areas of my life do I want to grow in 2021? What areas of life am I weakest? Can I explain why Christianity is true when asked? Do my family members see Christ in me as I navigate through the activities of life? Do my coworkers and colleagues see Christ as I deal with people, decision making, and challenges?
Question 4: What books will I read this next year to achieve my growth goals?
Question 5: What mentors will I seek out? The Lord never intended for any human to go through life alone. God stated that Adam needed a helper in Genesis 2:18. Solomon acknowledged that people need partners in life in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Additionally, there are many biblical demonstrations of mentoring. Elijah mentored Elisha. Jethro mentored Moses. Paul mentored Timothy. Who will you seek out to partner with you and guide you to live a life that glorifies God?
Question 6: What will I do Sunday through Saturday to achieve the goals? The answer to this question helps me establish daily routines to keep God-focused.
Question 7: What am I grateful for, and how can I show gratitude? Gratitude is a character trait that reveals who I believe is the source of all things and who is in charge. How am I going to acknowledge the source of all things and the authority in my life?
I encourage you to take the time to answer these questions prayerfully. I also encourage you to revisit these questions frequently and review your Spirit-led responses as a way to right your path or self-assess your thoughts and actions. I can sum up my goals and desires using the words of the hymn Be Thou Vision. Composed in Old Irish, the text was translated into English prose in 1905 by Mary Byrne.
Happy New Year! May you sense the Lord’s leading and blessing in 2021.