What’s the most important thing you’ll do this year?
We easily overwhelm ourselves by idealistic aspirations. Good intentions lead to unrealistic expectations which lead to disappointment. Let’s keep it simple this year.
A Simple Focus for This Year
If God wanted you to do only one thing this year, what would it be? What is the most important thing you could work on?
Paul gave Timothy instruction that applies to us today:
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8, NLT)
God’s Word doesn’t deny the benefits of self-discipline and physical training – the usual focus of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, Paul admits these are good things. But there is a better thing, a greater discipline, a more beneficial focus with eternal rewards – the pursuit of godliness.
Faithfulness is Not Perfection
Growing in godliness is a practice. It’s not something we’ll master and check off our to-do list as complete. It’s not a New Year’s resolution we’ll look back on next December 31st and say, “I achieved this.” It’s ongoing, a lifelong pursuit.
We must shift our focus from the worldly mindset of success and instead take a biblical perspective of faithfulness. Faithfulness doesn’t mean perfection. Take a look at the men and women highlighted in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. They were imperfect. They all failed – some with epic and truly calamitous results. But God honors them as faithful examples for us to follow.
You’re going to fail. You’re going to sin and mess up and hurt others and fall short. You’re human. We all are. There’s no getting around it.
So what’s the solution? How do we practice godliness when we’re so far from God’s standard?
How to Live a Life of Faithfulness
We must live in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We work at growing in our understanding of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us and how that impacts our lives daily, moment by moment.
The gospel first acknowledges our need of a Savior. We are sinners. We are imperfect. This is something we’re reminded of on a daily basis. It’s why we’re drawn to the idea of New Year’s resolutions – we want to be better because we know we’re so far from the best we could be.
We are completely incapable on our own of attaining the level of holiness God requires. The good news is that Jesus came, paid the price for our sin, and made a way for us to enjoy unbroken fellowship with God. When Jesus was resurrected and ascended back to the right hand of the Father, He sent us the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.
How to Dwell in Christ
God’s Word is the means by which He has chosen to communicate with us. It is through the pages of the Bible we come to understand who He is and we see ourselves as He sees us. It is living and active, filled with the power to transform us from the inside out.
The deeper we immerse ourselves into God’s Word, the more our hearts and minds are filled with Truth that spills out into every aspect of our lives. It impacts who we are, how we speak, how we think, how we act, and even where we go.
We don’t become godly by trying harder. We become godly by spending time with God.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5, ESV)
The most important thing you’ll do this year is to dwell in God’s Word – to abide in Christ. If you are going to accomplish anything this year, it cannot be apart from Christ. If you are to be a faithful, fruitful follower of Jesus, it starts by connecting with Him.
Does the idea of developing a habit of diligent immersion in the Bible discourage you?
- I don’t feel like reading the Bible.
- I don’t have time to read the Bible.
- Bible reading plans are too overwhelming for me.
- Bible studies don’t work for my learning style.
If you can relate to any of those sentences, I’m delighted to share something precious with you. If you can’t relate to any of them and are instead eager to dive in and desire to go deeper in God’s Word, I have something to share with you, too.
DWELL: 360 Days in God’s Word
Dwelling in the Word of God requires discipline. We need to be consistent, and being consistent requires that we commit to something that’s manageable. It helps to have a plan so that you know what to read each day, but not just any plan will work for everyone.
I shared my criteria for a good Bible study in a previous post. I highly recommend clicking through to read it there because, once again, I have found another study that meets all my criteria.
Living By Design Ministries has put together a free online Bible study for the entire year. It’s a “vibrant, life-giving 360-degree view of what God has done for us, what He is doing in us, and what He wants to do through us.”
This study is beautifully designed and thoughtfully laid out to help us meditate on and digest God’s Word throughout the day (no matter what your day might look like). Everyone can manage the short daily passages and the simple format of the study, created to benefit all types of learning styles.
DWELL360 consists of monthly emails including a devotional from the book of Galatians, a 30-day Scripture reading plan with a brief passage to read each day (only 1-2 verses), shareable graphic, workbook, and digital planner.
This online Bible study is packed with free printable resources to help you succeed at dwelling in God’s Word this year. The welcome pack and printable monthly resource kits include an assortment of helpful tools including:
- Strategy & Goal-Setting Pages
- Reflection Question Pages
- Notes & Journaling Pages
- Printable Monthly Reading Plan
- Printable Monthly Progress Chart
- Daily & Weekly Planner Pages
- Appointment Pages & To-Do List
- And so much more…
All of the planner pages are undated so you can print and use them as often and as long as you would like! It’s not necessary to use all the resources – you can use as much or as little of the study as you want or need.
If you want to maintain a diligent habit of dwelling in the truths of God’s Word daily, I highly recommend this study!