Welcome to 2019! If you decided at the end of 2018 to make some changes, how did your first day go?
I took step one: I bought a weekly planner. One thing I have always struggled with is my memory. When I look back over the last year, there’s a whole lot of blur, and I don’t really have a good handle on what actually happened! Not only will my planner help me later in the year to remember what God did in and through my life, it will also help me to organize my time better.
Step two will be to actually put it to use! This may sound silly, but I also bought lots of fun stickers to use throughout the year. I love stickers! Hopefully they will help motivate me to keep up with my time management, as well as record what’s going on in my life.
We like to use the first day of the year as a kind of starting block for life change, but if we fail to live up to our plan, we can get down on ourselves. The more we don’t measure up, the less motivated we are to continue trying. It doesn’t have to be that way!
If you made promises to yourself and to God that you would add to or improve on your spiritual disciplines, and you fell short today, remember:
“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:23 NLT) Tomorrow is a new day, and if today didn’t go as planned, you can begin again in the morning!
“The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14) God knows our weaknesses, and He still loves us in spite of them. Aren’t you grateful for that? That should be motivation enough to get up tomorrow morning, and give him your best!
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9) You can wake up tomorrow with a clean slate and a fresh start.
“Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.” (Psalm 37:5) Pray over your action plan for the new year. Ask God to direct your steps, and to strengthen you for the road ahead.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:12-14) We’ll not reach perfection this side of heaven, but we can continue to pursue that to which God is calling us.
Spiritual disciplines are not the end in themselves, they are the means to a deeper relationship with God. And that, my friend, is a goal that pleases him! Press on!