I love this time of year! Not only do I love Christmas and getting to spend time with family and friends, I also really love the New Year. Culturally, it’s an opportunity to reflect on how we, as individuals, can improve and grow. I find it interesting, that so many people turn to the scene of our Savior’s miraculous birth and then a week later begin turning their minds to how they can make this year their best year yet. If only, they would continue their focus on Jesus. He’s capable of making the difference so many people desire. We understand this as His followers and are thus motivated to grow more like Him and in our service to Him.
What changes do you hope to make as the New Year begins? Something about the new year makes change more attractive. I hope you are motivated to grow as a disciple this year! I want to challenge you to think about how you can grow more like Christ and as His servant. I feel like sometimes our spiritual growth is stunted by not defining how we want to grow. We know we want to grow, but we don’t define what the growth looks like or how it’s going to be achieved.
Grow in Christlikeness:
Let’s quickly look at some ways to grow more like Christ. When we think about Christ life on Earth, we see a generous (Matt 26:28), compassionate (Matt 9:36), prayerful (Luke 6:12), and humble servant (Phil 2:5-8). This list not only describes Jesus but also attributes we can increase in our lives. If you are still looking for ways to grow or a New Year’s Resolution for 2024, my suggestion is to consider the life of Jesus and choose one attribute to really focus on in one area of life. For example, maybe you want to be more compassionate when driving through traffic, or maybe you want to increase the amount of time you spend in prayer before you begin working on your to do list, each morning.
Grow in Service:
Perhaps you want to focus on improving your service as a Christian. Ephesians 2:10 explains Christians were created to do good works. Perhaps you want to strive to grow in the way you serve others on a personal level, looking for better and specific ways to invest in close family, friends, or co-workers. Or perhaps you want to consider increasing your service within God’s family the church. Much like there is always something that can be done around the house to help keep it clean and tidy, so there is always something to be done within the church to help in the work of the church. Maybe you want to try teaching a class, getting involved in the youth ministry, serving as a deacon, and the list could go on. Maybe you see a need within the church or community and think you could help resolve it.
Prepare for Future Opportunities!
Yet, it’s also possible you find yourself simply needing to prepare for the day you are asked to serve as a teacher, deacon, or elder. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how you need to grow as a follower of Christ.
If you need a little motivation, look to the apostle Paul. In Philippians 3:8-16 Paul describes counting all things as a loss because knowing Christ is so much more valuable. Knowing Christ leads to experiencing the resurrection of the dead, this is Paul’s longing. In verse 12 Paul stresses, “I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Because Paul belongs to Christ, he wants to grow in Christ and continue in Him until the day of the Lord’s return. May we follow in his pattern, because we belong to Christ may we be determined in our hearts to grow!