It’s the New Year. Last night, for some people, was a night for parties, fireworks, drinking and kissing strangers. For us, it has most often been a quiet evening with family and friends, sparklers and sparking grape juice. And for the record, the only kissing is of my wife and son.
This time of year can also be a great time for reflection. For looking back, taking stock of now and looking forward. For pondering your state of life. This can be very helpful…insightful…meaningful…even life-shaping.
So, why don’t you grab a pen and some paper, find a quiet spot and send some time—just you and Jesus. Listen. Write. Pray. Listen some more.
+ Write your 2008 story in six sentences –one for every other month or so.
+ Summarize all of that in six words. Turn the six words into a prayer.
+ What was your greatest mess, failure or disappointment this year? What lesson did you learn from that that you will take with you?
+ What was your greatest joy, success or accomplishment this year? What lesson did you learn from that you will take with you?
+ With whom did you develop a significant relationship this year? Why do you think the Lord has brought you together with this person?
+ When do you recall laughing the hardest this year? Crying? Enjoying some artistic or musical moment? Having your mind stimulated by a conversation, something you saw or read in a book?
+ How is your faith different than at the turn of last year?
+ What did your life this year show you about Jesus that makes him more beautiful, wise, strong, loving and faithful than you ever dreamed?
Taking Stock Now
Describe – as honestly as possible—where you stand today in the following life areas:
– worship (to what degree are all things for the glory of God?)
– intellectual depth, breadth & growth
– emotional maturity in dealing with anger, grief, frustration, etc.
– deep affections for God
– living by grace-full acceptance or performance approval
– family relationships (spouse, children, parents, siblings)
– vocation ( work or school)
– integrity of life, words, actions
– Kingdom influence through my life (being salt and light)
– holiness (like God)
– Christ-like character
– Biblical knowledge and application
– forgiveness and reconciliation for broken relationships
– bearing witness to spiritually lost people
– involvement with the hurting & broken people you encounter
– stewardship of your life, talents, money & other resources
– concern for the nations, especially unreached people
All of this could be summed up in the consideration of one large question: To what degree does my life center on Jesus, enjoy the fullness of His gospel, and invite others to join me in that life?
+ Ps. 90:12 says “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Write a six-word prayer summarizing your God-ward impulses for 2009.
+ How will you pursue intimacy with and enjoyment of God more passionately? Be specific.
+ What aspect of your inner world do you want to cultivate this year?
+ With what Christian brother or sister do you want to deepen or repair a relationship this year?
+ With what pre-Christians will you commit to develop a genuine friendship and have gospel-centered conversations?
+ How do you want to see your marriage grow this year? Your children develop?
+ How will you pursue beauty? Laughter? Curiosity? Knowledge? Wisdom? Generosity? Compassion?
+ What do you fear in the coming year? How can you turn that to a faith-filled prayer?
+ How will God’s Word shape you more this year than last? (Check out these helpful Bible reading plans.
+ How will there be a stronger gospel influence through you at work or school this year?
+ Is there a sense of calling or a prompting of the Spirit in a certain direction to which you need to give attention?
+ What will you do this year that will last forever?
+ How can the gospel of Jesus – with its love, grace, power and hope–become larger and more real to you with every day that passes this year?
Happy New Year!!