It’s that time again. Time to make big plans about self-improvement for the New Year. We annually decide to be better people, starting January 1. We are going to get healthier, more disciplined, more generous, and more focused. These goals are all good and worth pursuing, but I wonder if you have set any spiritual goals for yourself in 2021. Do you envision being more spiritually healthy next year? New Year’s Resolutions aren’t bad, but if you don’t set spiritual goals for yourself, then your priorities will be off. Set a spiritual goal for 2021.
I have often spoken about the four C’s of spiritual health. Whenever I am asked to define or describe discipleship, I tend to return to these four markers as a way of evaluating both how I am growing as a disciple, and how I can help others grow. Allow me to remind you of these four C’s, and then let me encourage you to pick an area to grow in this year.
Biblical Content - How well do you know the Scriptures? How confident are you in the storyline of the Bible? How well do you know the God of the Bible and the truths about Him? Can you use the Scriptures to help yourself and to help others? The Bible is our source of truth and authoritative knowledge about God. If we don’t know it well, then all other areas of life are going to be significantly impaired.
Christlike Character - How much do you look like Jesus? Are there areas of your life that you know are out of step with the Spirit of God? Are there sins that you are refusing to address? Can others point to very specific areas of weakness that you need to strengthen? The goal of the Christian life is to be increasingly conformed to the image of the divine Son (Rom. 8:29). There are probably areas of your character that need to be improved on in 2021. Maybe its anger, or communication, or compassion, or self-control. Think through what God would want you to work on in the area of character.
Christian Community - We were not saved to be lone-ranger Christians. We need others and are called to be in meaningful relationship with others. Do you invest in other believers? Do you allow them to invest in you? Are you open to accountability? Are you plugged into the life of our church? Perhaps you need to grow in community in 2021.
Discipleship Competency - Disciples make disciples. How are you doing at helping others to grow to look more like Jesus? Can you help others to grow in their Biblical Content or Christlike Character? Maybe this year you need to commit to doing a study with someone, praying with someone weekly, or providing a level of accountability that they need. How can you help others grow in spiritual maturity this coming year?
Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Paul encourages us to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).
Spiritual maturation will require effort on our part. So, as you look ahead to a new year, consider setting real spiritual goals for yourself. Pick one of the Four C’s above and narrow your focus. For example, decide to grow in Biblical Content by memorizing the book of Ephesians. Or decide to grow in Christlike Character by asking for accountability on your temper and cultivating more patience. Or decide to grow in community by joining a small group. Find a way to grow this year and commit now to a specific area of spiritual growth.
Happy New Year, Cornerstone. May God helps us all to look more like Jesus in 2021 than we did in 2020.