As 2015 kicks off, many people see the beginning of the year as a time of new beginnings, and so they make resolutions. Maybe you haven’t written them down, but you’ve probably resolved to do some things. Maybe it’s to start doing some things - like exercise or being more disciplined. OR maybe you have resolved to stop doing things – like stop eating wrong foods or speaking harshly to your loved ones.
Whatever your resolutions for 2015 have been, the goal would usually be for a better you, a better year or a better family. Ultimately we just don’t want to waste another year.
Sadly, the strange thing that our resolutions show us is that we are really creatures of habit because we so quickly forget about our good intentions expressed in our resolutions and head straight back into our old habits. The result? Nothing changes despite our good intentions. Nothing changes because we put nothing in place to make the resolutions possible.
If I was to encourage every person in one area that should help to bring the resolutions to reality, it would be this – spend time daily with your heavenly Father. Do this one thing and do it well. Don’t miss this and I can guarantee you that you will get to the end of 2015 and look back and see that this was not another wasted year. Spending time with your Heavenly Father is a simple way to produce powerful and lasting change in your life that will have an impact on the lives of those around you and your church. Let me tell you why I believe this.
Daily time in God’s word is an essential step towards a renewed mind. Romans 12:2 tells us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds…” This happens when truth displaces the lies that we have believed about God, ourselves, the world around us and what Jesus has done.
Daily time in God’s word is an essential step towards spiritual maturity. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:18, instructs us to “grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” I have come across many who treasure the knowledge but have neglected the growth in the grace. What I am saying is that it’s all in the head but lacks the evidence in their life. That’s not spiritual maturity! Spiritual maturity comes when what God says is true in the Bible is manifest as truth in our lives. All truth must be practical!
Daily time in God’s word is a way to encounter God more meaningfully and experience Him more intimately. This is because you grow in your knowledge of God, and understand in a more intimate way His limitless love for you. God’s word and God’s Spirit help us to understand that we have been saved by grace and adopted into God’s family and we are called sons! That is how we now relate to God our Father!
Daily time in God’s word is way that God uses to recalibrate your life. As you are exposed to truth, the Holy Spirit works in you to align your heart and mind with God and His ways. Ultimately this is seen in our praying as God aligns us with His will and ways so that when we ask Him for things it is aligned with His will.
Daily time with God is a way to combat the allure of temptation because we learn that He is our treasure. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Sin and temptation teach us that nothing can satisfy and the fruit of sin is lack of joy, and then guilt resulting in shame. When we fill our minds with what is from God the fruit is joy and peace and freedom because in Christ we have been set free! Through Christ we gain a new identity. We then begin to hate what God hates and love the things that God loves!
Daily time with God reminds us daily that God is real and His grace is sufficient. The Bible says that God revives our souls. I am sure that if you speak to Christ-followers who spend regular time with God you will hear their stories of times when they sat down to read the Bible and speak to their Father and sing His praise because through that their souls were revived.
Daily time with God helps us interpret the times and seasons our lives in an objective way. So many times I have seen Christian interpret the challenges in their lives through the filter of personal comfort rather that the purposes and plans of God for our lives. Spending time with our Father changes that because He constantly reminds us of His deep and lasting love despite the harshness of our circumstances.
There are many more reasons why I would encourage daily time with God but I hope these are actually enough to cause you to resolve to make this a daily habit in your life.
If you are not sure of a next step and you are wanting help here, as a start Ligonier Ministries has published a list of Bible Reading Plans for 2015. You can check it out at http://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/.
I pray that 2015 will in no way be a wasted year for you!