Did you even notice your phone changed to the new year by itself. If your whole life is digital, nothing forces you to think about time that forever has passed into the past. Even the IRS allows some flexibility after the start of a new calendar year. If you started a new calendar or a new journal, blank spaces hint to you that this is another fresh start for you.
Like untouched snow that fell while you didn’t look, 2018 can turn familiar places into fresh adventures.
What will make 2018 different from 2017?
Ten thousand small coincidences and dozens of major events will give this year a different look than 2017, but circumstances just draw out your response. Your character will grow or stagnate through the quality of your decisions.
“No one is more committed to your growththan our Lord Jesus.” -Scott Sharman
Jesus aims for you to end the year with a character more like his. You will pursue that—or, whatever else you deem to be more valuable than Christlikeness. If your aim is something else, can you name it? One helpful way to identify your personal goal or aim is to answer, “Where do you invest your time and your money?” Don’t just look at the 5% to 20% of your time that you consider your “free time.” Look at what hopes and values and longings you carry through 100% of your conscious seconds. Is spiritual growth on that unspoken list?
This last Sunday, Scott reminded us of four disciplines, practiced on the regular, reliably take us on the slow route toward knowing Jesus and becoming like him: daily time in Scripture (journal what God teaches you), weekly time with like-minded followers of Jesus (to build up one another), regular time in meaningful prayer (taking time to become fully honest with God and to listen for him), and ongoing spiritual reflection (looking at your life and the world through Scripture, community, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance).
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-17