Are you happy with your spiritual life? Is your faith as strong and deep and sustaining as you'd like it to be? How are you doing as a Christian? Do you believe that your life is pleasing to God? These are probing questions that can be painful to answer. Yet, they're questions that all of us need to address on a regular basis, for we're instructed to "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves." (2 Cor. 13:5).
Will you live your life this year with the same spiritual emphasis with which you lived last year? Do you need to make any improvements? If so, what are those improvements? Do you need to become more focused spiritually? If so, what will you do to bring about that new focus? Have you reached similar conclusions in the past but failed to implement the changes that were necessary? What will you do differently this year?
Many people decide that they need to make changes in their lives, but most of them, perhaps the vast majority, don't make the changes that are needed. They think about it and recognize the need, but they don't follow through. For many who take some initial steps to improve their lives, they quickly slip back into their old practices.
So, what are you gonna' do this year to strengthen your spiritual life? It won't happen on its own. Will you attend church services more often this year? You need the strength, encouragement, reinforcement and fellowship that comes from being with your brothers and sisters in Christ. The most fundamental time that Christians spend together is probably that time when they come together to worship God. That's about as basic as faithfulness and dedication gets.
Will you read the Bible more often this year? The Bible is our guidebook to successfully navigate our way through this life. If you're not reading the guidebook, it's likely that your navigation system is malfunctioning. The Bible is God's word; it communicates to us His will for our lives. If you're not reading His basic communication to you, how can you expect to know His will? Did you know that you can read the entire Bible through in one year just by reading three chapters a day most days?
Will you pray more often each day this year? God communicates to you through His word. He blesses you with the opportunity to communicate with Him through prayer. Are you utilizing this incredible blessing? James put it succinctly when he wrote, "Yet you do not have because you do not ask" (Jas. 4:2).
WIll you get more involved in the work and activities of the church this year? You'll feel more a part of the church as you become more involved in the church. How much do you want to get from your relationship with the church, the Lord's body? How much are you putting into that relationship? An old saying goes something like this: "You get out of something according to what you put into it."
You have an opportunity to, with God's help, change your life. You can become stronger spiritually. But you have to recognize the need and implement the steps necessary to make the changes. Will you do what needs to be done, or will you find yourself in pretty much the same dissatisfying spiritual state next year at this time? The choice is yours. What are you gonna' do this year???
Gary L. Hutchens