As we look to the new year, I think it’s important for all of us to ask, what would God have me pursue in 2022? Now in reality, we are all going to pursue something or someone. At the end of next year, all of our 8,760 hours will be filled up with something. On behalf of your elders and staff, our hope is that your minutes are marked by the pursuit of God.
We are living in a very blessed time. Each of us have access to God’s word and Christ-centered resources unlike any previous era in human history. If we want to grow in our knowledge of God’s word, we can. If we want to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ, we can. If we want to learn how to better share our faith, apply biblical principles to our relationships, learn how to be better stewards of our resources, know how to answer tough questions about the faith, we can.
However, with the high volume of excellent resources available, it would be easy to become immobilized by indecision. There are just too many options! With that in mind, I want to encourage you to take a minimalist approach. If you only read one book this year, make it the Bible. If you complete two books this year, one of them should be the Bible.
Here’s what we all need to do:
- Settle on a reading plan. The YouVersion Bible app has dozens for you to choose from. Pick the one that’s right for you. But remember that growth requires stretching yourself! Here are a few worth considering.
The Bible Recap - http://www.thebiblerecap.com
The 90-day Chronological - https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/17142
The 30-day Shred - https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13745-30-day-shred
The Renewed Mind Plan - https://www.huttobible.com/renewed-mind-reading-plan-2022
- Don’t set unrealistic standards. Now, I’m not saying don’t challenge yourself. What I’m saying is, don’t mess up and just give up. You would not do that in any other relationship or pursuit, so don’t do it here.
You will get side-tracked; just get back on track. You will get bogged down; push through. You will get discouraged; ask for help. You will get confused; give us a call.
- Word Before World. Earlier this year, my wife did a 30-day challenge called Word Before World (https://wellwateredwomen.com/wbw). The Word Before World Manifesto states: “I resolve to put the Word before the world, because I believe Jesus Christ is worthy of my first, best, and last moments.”
The idea is simple. Before you look to your phone, look to the Lord. Many of us are in the bad habit of checking our preferred social media site, reading the news, listening to podcasts, checking covid numbers in our area, or checking the weather, before we look to the Lord. Here’s the challenge, for the next 30 days, don’t do any of that before you read your Bible. If you don’t have time for the other stuff, that’s okay.
- Find a friend. Paul told Timothy to “Pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with thosewho call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Everyone needs someone to run the race with - it can be a spouse, a parent, a friend, someone from your Community Group, etc. Bottomline: we are better together.
Now, I understand you have a busy schedule. I get that you are juggling multiple calendars and the expectations of lots of people. I know that all of us are wired differently and there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to spiritual growth. I also recognize that you and I have a spiritual enemy who wants to derail us, and that we are often our own worst enemy. But nothing worth pursuing is ever easy.
Remember, God is still God, the Holy Spirit is still changing lives, and the Lamb really does win!
He is worthy!
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson
Well-Watered Women - https://wellwateredwomen.com
He Reads Truth - https://hereadstruth.com
She Reads Truth - https://shereadstruth.com
Fasting Resources - https://www.desiringgod.org/topics/fasting
Echo prayer app - https://new.echoprayer.com
Bless Every Home app - https://blesseveryhome.com
New City Catechism app - http://newcitycatechism.com
New City Catechism website - https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/new-city-catechism