It’s a New Year! With the arrival of 2022, we anticipate new beginnings, desire to leave behind regrets, and so set resolutions for the new year ahead.
We know the resolutions well:
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Quit smoking/drinking
- Read more
- Get organized
- Learn a new skill or hobby
- What would you add to this list?
New beginnings bring expectation for a future improved from what the past might have held. Our desires indicate we want to become better forms of ourselves and not worse. I’ve never started the New Year thinking I would like to be less organized and exercise less. Even though the desire is to become a “new or better me” my will power to change myself doesn’t seem to bring permanent change.
The New Year brings longings for my relationship with God too. My deepest longings can only be met by God and His Presence in my life. I long toward growing in knowledge of Him, but I cannot possibly desire growth with Him more than He yearns to give it to me.
We don’t just slip into a deeper relationship with Jesus, just like I don’t slide into a more organized life, toned body, or new skill. I must practice and build these habits and there’s the “rub” in my life. It’s challenging to stick to a new routine and keep a New Year’s Resolution, yet the outcome is usually worth all the effort.
Only the work of the Spirit molds and shapes me. I am the clay in the hand of the Potter, and He forms me into who He wants me to be if I surrender to His work in my life. (Isaiah 64:8) Spiritual disciplines, or practices give God’s Spirit access to my heart and mind. It is not my effort, but God’s labor that brings lasting change. I however, must at least show up and be a willing participant.
The apostle Paul prayed a prayer for the church in Ephesus that is a prayer for you and me too.
“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height, and depth of God’s love, and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19
- What does it look like to have your roots growing deep in a container rich with the soil of God’s love?
- What is your spiritual longing for the New Year?
- My prayer, as Paul’s, is that you would be firmly rooted like a tree in the knowledge of God’s love for you.
If you are curious to learn new practices to give access to God’s work in your spirit, perhaps I can help you discover some that may bring new life and joy in God in 2022.
May God bless you in 2022!