We’ve kicked off the New Year and I have to confess: I don’t make resolutions. I should. I know I should. By February, I find myself disappointed and feeling guilty. What’s the best way to avoid that? Don’t do it. Ok, I know that’s the wrong attitude, but allow me to give you—if you’ll receive it—the best New Year’s Resolution you can make. Spend time on the most important relationship you can possible have, your walk with your Lord.
There is no other relationship you and I have that is greater, more fulfilling and transforming than our relationship with Christ. When we spend time with and grow in our knowledge of Jesus, it changes us like nothing and no one else. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The work of growth comes as God shapes us to look more like Christ.
So how do I dedicate myself this year to growing in my relationship with Christ? We start with the Word. God gave us His Word, not primarily for information, but for transformation. And what I may say now may hit you wrong, but I’m describing a level of depth deeper than a devotional book. Devotionals are important, but there’s meat that we can’t get to over coffee. We can get deep into God’s Word for the promise of blessing to our souls and how it teaches us to treasure Christ.
Some will start with reading plans. Those are great, but if you are like me, sometimes you may have to get help by Leviticus. Need another way to start? Go through a book of the Bible you’ve always wanted to read and know more about. Need help? Get a trusted commentary or ask your pastor for a recommended commentary. As we read any passage of Scripture, it’s important that we are reading through a lens that declares the greatness and beauty of Jesus Himself, even in the Old Testament.
Relationships need communication, and while Scripture grounds us in truth, truth will come out in our prayers. The believer must not neglect prayer. To do so, as Jonathan Edwards put it, is to “live as if there were no God.” Prayer (through the example of Matthew 6) centers around worship, asking for God’s will, the needs of life, repentance/deliverance and in some manuscripts, again worship. Communion with Jesus in our prayer life brings joy, not obligation.
It’s the joy of bringing our requests to a Father who loves to hear them and will never be pestered by them. It’s the joy of praying for the needs of others and sharing your prayers with them. Prayer is such a gift of grace to us that we should never get tired of talking with our Father.
There are other ways that help grow our affection for Jesus. But there is one I would encourage you with in parting: If you are able to be in church, be in church. I know there are those who must be careful and we as churches ought to take pride in caring for those who come into our building with guidelines and protections. But you and I were saved into a family.
That family will teach you, encourage you and support you as you grow in your faith. Your growing to look like Christ is a team sport! God bless you as you pursue Him this year!