I must admit that I like taking time to set a list of goals in the lead up to each new year. I find it fun to look back on what I hoped for the year before, too. My love of introspection might play a role in the enjoyment factor! There is usually two sets of goals – one set about what I want spiritually or feel God calling me to, and another set just things I’d like to do.
This year with baby soon to arrive my whole list is pretty much “subject to motherhood”! But the top three remain important – God first, then Glenn, then baby/our family. But what does this look like? What is it to put God first, and what should I be doing in order to set Him first? It’s a fairly ambiguous goal as simply “God first”.
We currently have some friends staying with us who are pastoring a church. They commented that the outcome of a big pastor’s conference was that Christians grow the most when they read the Bible; that discipleship must start by getting people into His Word. My first reaction was a little judgemental – “Really? They had to have a conference to figure that one out?” But then again, the Word is my passion so of course I’m going to feel that way.
Last night, reflecting on the conversation with friends and my ambiguous goal, I was able to come back to a very simple truth. God has given us two incredible gifts to enable us to walk with Him and draw close with Him. One is His Word, and the other is His Holy Spirit, who dwells in all believers. How blessed we are to have the Spirit and the Word. But it is up to us to read, study, and meditate on the Word. It is also up to us to keep up a connection with the Spirit; a relationship only grows when both sides invest in it.
If you haven’t set a New Year’s resolution yet, or even if you have, I would encourage you to set this as one too: Spend time daily with the Spirit and daily in the Word. Set aside time to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit, and find a study or reading plan that gets you into God’s Word.
May His richest blessings be upon you this year. May He give you strength to persevere through trials, and joy to celebrate achievements and times of abundance.
Experience God this year through His Word and Spirit
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-17
Word of God
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17