It’s pretty well established that the beginning of a new year is a good time to set goals. Lots of people set goals or resolutions for self-improvement, weight-loss, exercise, time management, getting organized, getting out of debt or…
The beginning of the year is also a good time to reflect on the state of my life as a disciple of Jesus. To honestly evaluate (look back) and intentionally anticipate (look forward) what’s next as I follow Him.
Being a faithful, growing disciple doesn’t just happen. Growth is not a default setting for us. .It requires an aggressive, purposeful, practical plan. Jesus said, ‘The one who would follow Me, must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)
So, let me suggest some questions to help set soul-goals for 2011. Get in a quiet place with a journal and ponder the following:
To evaluate where I am as a disciple:
+ What is the difference in my life with Jesus between now and this time last year? Am I tracking closer or is the relationship more distant?
+ Is the gospel of Jesus more precious to me and grace even more amazing? (Rom. 5:1-11)
+ How has hearing & obeying God’s Word shaped my life? (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
+ Am I battling my sin or giving in to it? (1 Cor. 10:12-13, 1 Jn.1:8-10) Does that make me feel condemned or draw me closer to Jesus? (Rom. 7:13-8:2)
+ To what degree are the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) shaping my character?
+ Am I being more conformed to Jesus (Rom. 8:29, 2 Cor. 3:18) or the world (Rom. 12:2, 1 Jn. 2:15-17)?
+ What is the level of my passion for Jesus compared to other activities, relationships or interests? (Matt. 22:37-38)
+ Has any idol (anything other than God that shapes my decisions, thinking, emotions, time, spending, etc.) taken root in me this year? (1 Jn. 5:20-21)
+ Do my decisions, thinking, emotions, time, spending, relationships and interests reflect or obscure God’s Kingdom priorities? Am I using the gifts, abilities and resources Jesus has given me to serve His kingdom and His church? (1 Cor. 12:4-7)
+ Do my family relationships express the love & purposes of Jesus? (Eph.5:22-6:4)
+ Have I pursued significant, gospel-centered relationship and accountability with at least two other believers outside my immediate family? Why or why not?
+What has been the quality of my connecti0n and involvement with my faith-family /church? What needs to be pursued further; what needs to be adjusted?
+ Have I engaged in significant relationships and conversations about the gospel with far-from-God people? (Matt. 28:18-20)
To anticipate my life as a disciple in 2011
+ Jesus, I want to follow you as the defining center of my life. (Mark 8:34-36) Where are you leading me in my relationships, work, school, decisions, priorities, time, spending, service, etc? What courage will I need from You to follow You there?
+ Jesus, I want to be a joyful, gospel-saturated disciple. (Jn. 15:11, Phil. 3:7-11) How can I cultivate a more consistent awareness of Your mercy to me in the cross and the resurrection?
+ Jesus, I want to listen for your voice and be shaped by your Word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) What Bible reading plan do you want me to use this year? When and where will we meet each day? How will I record what you are whispering to me?
+Jesus, I want to worship you more fully and passionately. What will that look like as I gather with other Christians? In my private times with you? In my daily life?
+ Jesus, I want increasingly to be like You. (Rom. 8:29, 1 Jn. 2:6, Gal. 5:22-23) Which part(s) of my character are you most concerned to shape this year? Who would you have join me to help me pursue Christ-likeness? (identify two or three friend, call them and get together this week to pray)
+ Jesus, I want victory over ________________________. (Lk 8:43-48) Help me trust Your heart and Your power, and be obedient to follow Your promptings to add or remove, act or stop, run towards or flee, or ____________.
+ Jesus, I want to be a more Christ-like family member and friend. What does that look like for me as a friend, spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, co-worker, etc.?
+Jesus, I want to love my community (city, town, subdivision, etc) the way you do. How can I love this place well, serve it and work for its blessing?
+ Jesus, I want to join your mission of reaching the spiritually lost and makingdisciples of all people. (Luke 19:10, Matt. 28:16-20) Who are the 2-3 people in my sphere whom you want me to engage for You and share the gospel with? How doyou want me to invest myself, my resources and time in the advance of your Kingdom and the growth of your church?
The Lord will prompt more as you spend time with Him, but that’s a good place to start.