Did you even notice your phone change to the new year by itself? When our lives are completely digital, nothing forces us to think about time that has forever passed into the past. Even the IRS allows some flexibility after the start of a new calendar year. If we were to start a new calendar or a new journal, blank space would hint that this is a fresh start.
Like untouched snow that fell while you weren’t looking, 2018 can turn familiar places into fresh adventures.
Will 2018 be different?
Ten thousand small coincidences and dozens of major events will make this year look different than 2017, but those things are our circumstances. It’s how we respond to these circumstances that really matters. Our character will grow or stagnate through the quality of our decisions.
No one is more committed to your growth than our Lord Jesus. ~Scott Sharman
Jesus aims for us to end the year with a character more like his. We can pursue that – or whatever else we deem to be more valuable than being like Christ. If my aim is something else, can I name it? One helpful way to identify a personal goal or aim is to answer the question, “Where do I invest my time and money?” Don’t just look at the 5% to 20% that makes up our “free time.” We need to look at the hopes, values, and longings we carry through 100% of our conscious seconds. Is spiritual growth on that unspoken list?
Last Sunday, Scott reminded us of four disciplines, when practiced regularly, that reliably take us on the slow route of spiritual growth:
- Daily time in scripture. – Journal what God teaches you.
- Weekly time with like-minded followers of Jesus. – To build one another up.
- Regular time in meaningful prayer. – Take time to be fully honest with God and to listen for his reply.
- Ongoing spiritual reflection. – Look at your life and the world around you through the lens of Scripture, with 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 9:24-27