I know. I know. We are 11 days into 2018 and I am just now posting about new year resolutions? But, hey, better late than never, right? The truth is, my schedule has been so full that I didn’t have a chance to do much reflection until just about a week ago. Before I share them with you, let me ask you, have you made any yet? Or maybe I should ask, how many have you broken already?
It seems people have a love/hate relationship with them. I personally am a very goal oriented kind of person so I naturally gravitate toward them. I also think they are valuable because they keep us from drifting and just bumping along day to day but not really going anywhere or accomplishing anything. However, I also think a strong case can be made for them Biblically.
- God calls to Israel, “Give careful thought to your ways” (Haggai 1:5).
- Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
- And my all-time favorite (and which I preached on this past Sunday morning), “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me” (Colossians 1:28-29).
That last reference is dripping with resolve and determination. It has shaped my ministry and lifestyle more than any other verse in the Bible. I want to spend every last ounce of God-given energy I have not on making a new and improved version of myself but on being increasingly transformed into the person of Jesus Christ. I want to become increasingly Christ-like in my words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes. I want to talk like Christ, look like Christ, think like Christ, serve like Christ, love like Christ, etc. But that is not all. I want to help others do the same! I want to help others be fully developed followers of Jesus Christ. You see that in the verse when it repeatedly says, “everyone.” This is why the overall mission of my life is making more and better disciples of Jesus Christ. It is surrendering my entire being to God that I might intentionally develop others into spiritual maturity.
With all of that being said, here is what Colossians 1:28-29 looks like in my life this year:
- Redeeming the Time
- Wake up every morning at 5:30am so I can have a good 90 minutes of personal Bible study and prayer and also time to read some other good Christian books.
- My Bible reading plan is Professor Grant Horner’s plan. I have used it before and really benefited from it.
- I will memorize the entire book of Ephesians using the plan by Andy Davis.
- This ties into Colossians 1:28-29 in a number of ways. For starters, how can I intentionally help others mature in Christ when I myself am not intentionally growing in Christ? Furthermore, it is God’s Word and prayer that is going to energize me to do this work.
- I will limit myself to 1500 calories a day
- I will exercise 20 minutes a day
- I will do all of this because my body is not my own and because I want to live on this earth as long as I can so I can have that much more time to encourage others. Also, proper food and exercise is a way God energizes us to do his work!
- Publish at least one blog post every week.
- It should be easy to see how this ties into Colossians 1:28-29 – I can proclaim Christ, teach about Christ, admonish others in Christ, etc. through blogging and hopefully help others in doing so.
- It is my aim to read no less than one book a week. For the most part I already do this but I want to be more intentional about it. I plan on reading a smattering of good Christian and non-Christian books.
- Again, doing so will help me understand God and others more. It iwll help me proclaim Christ with more wisdom. Also, reading energizes me. It provokes my thinking and challenges me in lots of ways.
- I want to complete my A.C.B.C. certification this year. I need to finish phase 2 exams and phase 3 supervision.
- The connection this has with Colossians 1:28-29 is very obvious. The word for “admonishing” is the Biblical word for counseling. It means to “put into the mind” or “to lay to the heart.” It is implanting God’s truth into the heart of another so as to guide, correct, and instruct them toward Christlikeness.
There you have it! Now let me encourage you to do the same. Just like Colossians 1:28-29 has shaped the mission of my life I think it can and should shape yours. Obviously, it will look different in your life than in mine but if you are a Christian, your aim should always be spiritual maturity in Christ. How could it be any less? So have you made any resolutions for 2018 yet? Is spiritual maturity at the heart of them? If not, why not? How can you change them to reflect this mission? If you are not a Christian and have kept reading this far anyways then I would encourage you to recognize God’s desire for your life is that you be mature in Christ also! The first step toward that happening is you turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ who can give you life eternal and life abundant.