I’ve never been a very good keeper of new year’s resolutions. I often think they are even unhelpful for a person like me. But this year I want to publicly commit to three goals on here. I want to have the accountability of having written these down for anyone to see. I also want these to not really be “me-focused” but biblically-based, gospel-centered goals. I think we are all not where we need to be, but thankfully, God showers us with new mercies every morning and year. Here is where I hope to grow in 2019:
- Be Present
I hope to be more present in 2019. I want to be absorbed in whatever conversation is involving me, rather than absorbed in my own thoughts or my phone. I feel as though we are being pulled in so many directions, and more things than ever are vying for our attention. I know that my capacity for attention is at an all-time low. If a lull in conversation happens or simply a quiet moment alone, I am pulled in to my social media accounts or the never-ending news cycle. By succumbing to this pressure, I am often not present mentally or emotionally with whomever is front of me. In 2019, my goal is to focus completely on the conversations and situations I’m in. I don’t believe in chance or happenstance, and fully believe that God has ordained each conversation that I’ll be having throughout this year. Therefore, I want to view each encounter with someone else as an opportunity to be edified and encouraged, or to edify and encourage. I hope to share the gospel more often by being fully present, rather than squandering opportunities by looking at my phone because I feel awkward. I think this will be a challenge, but a worthwhile pursuit.
2. Grow in Affection for Christ
I don’t want 2019 to be a year of simply growing in my knowledge of Christ. Yes, I always want to have a goal of growing in the knowledge of Christ and of Scripture, but I also want to grow in my affection for Christ. I want to grow not only in my theology, but also my doxology. In seminary, we learn a lot of theology, but it is the seminarian’s task to let theology influence doxology. Honestly, I wasn’t very good at this throughout my undergraduate years or my first semester in seminary. I hope to have my affections stirred up for the Lord through the wonderful things I will learn both in seminary classrooms and at my local, gathered church. Head knowledge without worship produces pride, and I have seen some fruits of pridefulness in my own life. I desire to be a pastor who is at the same time a theologian and a man who is known by his affection for Christ. I want to delight in my Savior each day. The best place to have these affections stirred up is Holy Scripture. Scripture kills pride and produces humble pastor-theologian-worshipers who truly delight in Christ. I hope to spend more time in scripture in 2019 than ever before, not with the goal of simply gaining information (though that is good), but to see the beauty of my Redeemer every single day.
3. Develop Habits for Holiness
Many people want to creat new habits every new year. Maybe that means working out. Maybe it means reading more. These are usually good, but my desire this year is to attempt to develop habits to increase holiness in my own life. I desire to draw nearer and nearer to God with the expectancy that he will draw nearer to me, and I think one of the best ways to do this is to develop more habits for holiness. I want to commune with God daily through reading Scripture and praying–really praying. I don’t want these to become daily “checklist” habits, but habits that are producing holiness within me and stir up my affections for Christ. I also want to develop in my habit of meditating upon Scripture, spending time fasting, journaling, and being more intentional about Sabbath time. I pray these habits will not be a source of arrogance in my life, but of celebration of Christ’s mercies displayed and discovered in fresh ways by delving deeper into Scripture.
The end of all of this is to glorify God. This is not a self-improvement list, or a way to experience a “breakthrough” or “fresh revelation.” These are not flashy goals and hopes. These are ways I desire to grow closer to my Savior and in my love for my neighbor. I pray your new year is one of renewed commitment to the Lord and deeper thankfulness for his new mercies every morning. I would love to hear how you are hoping to grow this year, whether it’s some books you’re planing on reading or habits you want to develop. Feel free to drop a comment on here to share and encourage others. Maybe you want to jump in with me on these three simple goals. Feel free! I’d love to hear how that is going with you throughout the year. Know that I will be praying for my readers throughout the year to grow in holiness. I pray 2019 is a year of great spiritual growth for you and your family!