A New Year … New Opportunities

The New Year can be a time of reflection. Rather than focusing on the past year, let the New Year be a reminder of all you have new in Christ Jesus.

Click image to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.

Click image to enlarge in Pinterest & repin.

When we use the New Year as a time for reflecting on the newness He brings, we realize that with the new year come new opportunities to live out that new life in Him.

Sure,

… our circumstances might not change, but our perspective toward life will change as we see through new eyes. — We have faith.

… the world might seem to keep getting worse, but our reactions toward it will change as we understand with a new mind. — We have hope.

… people around us might not change, but our attitude toward them will change as we respond with a new heart. — We have love.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:12-13)

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End of the Year Prayer Survey

While I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, I do believe in examining our lives and assessing, by God’s grace and power, where we need to improve.  New Year’s resolutions fall short because:

1)  They tend to grow out of self-assessment rather than asking God to examine our lives. (Ps. 139:23-24; Prov. 3:5-6)

2)  They tend to be pursued with self-determination and self-effort rather than trusting God to work in and through us. (Jn. 15:5; Phil. 4:13)

Is it any wonder so many resolutions fail?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Ps. 139:23) Survey your life this past year, praying as you ask the following questions.

How has your life affected those in your sphere of influence?

Hopefully you would be able to say that God used you to bless and build up other people rather than criticize or tear them down.

What have you used to guide you in serving and making everyday decisions?

Hopefully you would be able to say that you looked to God and His Word for direction rather than leaning on your own understanding or following after the ways of the world.

How have you dealt with problems, conflicts, or mistakes made by others or even yourself?

Hopefully you were able to apply both grace and truth rather than going to one extreme or the other.

What have you done to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and in ministry effectiveness?

Hopefully you have grabbed hold of the resources and growth opportunities God put before you rather than merely coast through life.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:24) As God searches your heart, ask him to show you what He might want you to do differently in the upcoming year.

Perhaps you weren’t able to answer all of the above questions as hoped, or at least not consistently so.  Here is the good news.  You will have a new year ahead of you to change your answers, unless God takes you home to be with Him or if Jesus comes first.  Those aren’t bad options but don’t you want your life to be on track with Him in the meantime, to make a difference now?