Day 3 – Plans, Hopes, and Dreams for 2021
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, ESV).
“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, ESV).
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11, ESV).
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, ESV).
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2, ESV).
“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!” (Lamentations 3:40, ESV).
How many of you made some resolutions for this new year? Given the past year, we may be a little less nitpicky with ourselves and simply long for peace and unity. But there are always the ones notorious for resolving to lose weight (myself included). Once January hits, our newsfeed on social media and television ads roll out product after product, promising us instant results for a trimmer body. Recipe sections in magazines follow the diet trends of the day and try to entice us with foods that end up tasting like cardboard. Knowing there are countless people out there suffering along with us makes it a little easier to stay on track—at least initially.
No matter what changes we wish to make for the better this year, unless we truly have determination and resolve to follow through, we will not see success. As a member of our local gym, I can say that there is no month busier than January. By the time mid-February rolls around, we are back to our usual numbers. Resolve isn’t something that just magically happens for us; it takes daily effort to stay on track, and often accountability to stick to our desired change. They say the more we do something, the more it will become a habit and a more natural part of our lives.
I can’t say that I haven’t wrestled with resolve. Each new year, I seem to need to drop a few pounds again because somewhere over the course of the previous year I threw my resolve out the window. And while it may not be a really big deal, it can be when the changes I wish to see are spiritual in nature. Spiritual change is something everyone needs. We don’t ever get to the point in our walk with Christ where we say, “There, I finally made it all the way to the top!” No—there is always room for growth when it comes to our faith walk.
As we begin this year, let’s map out a few areas in our spiritual lives that need change. Whether it’s to be more of an encourager, study the Bible more diligently, pray more, use our spiritual gifts to a greater capacity—whatever it is, write down a few areas in your own experience that need a makeover. By writing them down, it’s easier to look them over often and remind yourself of the goals you made for this year. Then take it a step further and list out a few changes you can make in order to see success in the areas you wish to make spiritual gains.
Anything we set out to do requires commitment and a plan. Without these, we will not be successful in our pursuit of growth. This is true in all areas we are lacking, whether physical, emotional or spiritual in nature. Commit to the changes you want to see in yourself. Then map out your plan. If you keep these two in focus, you’ll have a real recipe for success and see your resolutions become a reality. Don’t get so sidetracked with the physical changes you want for yourself, even those that are important and need commitment and a plan, that you forget to challenge yourself spiritually. Why not put effort into an area that will follow you into eternity, qualifying you for a greater reward from your Father? Make your resolutions, then resolve to make them a reality.