New Year’s resolutions make a liar out of you. You promise yourself to lose 10 pounds by March, and you gain 10 by February. Stop making them, because we aren’t going to keep them anyway. Instead of promising to do something good or to stop doing something bad, let’s dive deeper into what really matters. As this new year begins, take a moment and reflect where you are spiritually. Do you feel close to God right now or would talking to Him feel like you’re talking to a stranger? Wherever you are in your faith journey, it’s not too late to begin walking closer with God. Now’s a great time to start. Let’s look at 5 ways you can grow your spiritual life this year.
1. Start a daily Bible plan
Psalm 1:1-2 tells us to meditate on the Word of God:
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.”
You may want to learn more about God’s Word, but there are so many pages and you just don’t know where to start. A daily Bible plan is a guide that tells you what to read when. You can find plans that help you read through the entire Bible in one year-from reading chronologically to thematically. Many Bible plans dive in deeper than just reading a verse or a chapter a day. Oftentimes they will include in-depth study aids like illustrations, maps, and historical context, making what you read easier to process. Not a fan of reading? Youversion has amazing free Bible plans that read the Scripture aloud to you and include impactful devotionals and study videos. A few favorites are one-year Bible plans from The Bible Project and Tara Leigh Cobble.
2. Start a prayer journal
Psalm 17:6 encourages us to talk to God:
“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.”
If you really want to see how God is working in your life, start keeping track of what you are asking Him to do and how He is answering. You can jot your prayers requests down in a notebook or set up a note on your phone. Make sure to include the date you asked and leave room for the date He answered and His response. I’m going to be honest-there will be a few requests that seem to have a blank answer line for years. But there will also be a lot of answers showing up pretty quickly. Sometimes you may not like the answer He gives. And you may find yourself thanking Him later on for not answering the way you thought He should at the time.
3. Start serving in your local church
Hebrews 10:24-25 challenges us to prioritize time spent in God’s house:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Spending time with like-minded believers is balm to your soul. You will feel a sense of belonging and will notice a never ending stream of encouragement as you serve with others in the Body of Christ. The cool thing is, when you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit distributes a spiritual gift to you that is basically your “sweet spot” where God will use you in what He is doing in His church. Once you start serving at church in a way that allows you to use that spiritual gift, you will feel such peace and oneness with God. If you would like to look into this more, check out Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Peter 4:10-11.
4. Start tithing 10% of your income
Malachi 3:10 offers one are where we are allowed to test God:
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food
in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw
open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not
be room enough to store it.’”
It is so easy to live with our fists tight around the money we make. But God offers us an amazing way to honor Him and come before Him in humility by challenging us to give a tenth of the money we make to His church. Will God’s church continue thriving even if we don’t give 10% of our income? Well, considering God owns everything, I think it’s safe to say God can make sure His church gets the materials and funds it needs to continue His work. But think about it this way-God is inviting us to be a part of the work He is doing by tithing. He is giving us a chance to trust in Him and to hold Him closer to our hearts than our money. Tithing has really been created more for us than for God.
5. Start listening to Christian music
Psalm 104:33 shows a life sold out to God:
“I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
Songs are catchy. You find yourself singing them throughout the day, many
hours after you last heard them. What song phrases are constantly running
through your mind? Are they songs that lift you up or tear others down? I
want to challenge you to take 30 days and only listen to Christian songs. This will help you focus your heart more on Christ and His kingdom rather than on things of this world. Not sure where to start? Check out Red Letter Society’s most recent songs on Spotify and Apple Music.
Life is full of ups and downs and stops and starts. Let’s get in the habit of putting God first every day. He will never fail you. He is holding out His hand, eager to spend time with you and encourage you. Let’s make this year a spiritual marker in our lives. Let this be the year you say, “God, I want more of you and less of me.”
Looking for songs to help you grow spiritually?
Check out these songs from Red Letter Society:
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