It was such a simple idea. I'm still amazed at how profound the impact has been on my walk with Christ.
As each year comes to a close, I ask the Lord what He wants me to focus on in the coming year. Although the topics He’s given me have varied quite a bit, I’ve found two things to be true, no matter what it is.
First, it’s always relevant.
I can always apply it to my life in practical ways. (See Part 1 )
Second, it always fits.
It always fits in with what has come before and what He has planned to come.
The benefit of doing this over a period of years is the hindsight it provides…I can see mile markers of His faithfulness as I look back. And I can often see how things fit together.
I remember one year, He had me hone in on learning how to better control my thoughts and manage my emotions.
The following year He had me focus on relationships and leadership.
Did you know that...
the health of your relationships and the strength of your leadership
are limited by
how disciplined your thought-life is and how well you manage your emotions?
Makes sense, right? But He knew to give me these topics of study and application in the right order.
He wants to take you on a journey. He wants to build on to what He’s done in the past in order to prepare you for the ‘here and now’ as well as for what’s ahead.
Can He do that without asking Him each year what your focus area should be? Certainly. Philippians 2:12 says to, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
Each of us is responsible for our own walk with Christ and what that looks like. And what works for some may not work for others. You may have a different way of staying pressed into God than what I’ve described here.
What we do know is this…
No one can walk with Christ for us. No teacher. No pastor. No mentor. Not our spouse nor our parent.
It’s quite something to see how the Amplified describes working out our salvation with “fear and trembling.”
“…with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).”
Does that mean our walk with Christ has to be intense all the time? Not at all. But it does need to be deliberate.
What I’ve found by hitting the “re-set button” each year is that it helps me stay intentional and consistent in my walk with Christ.
It also keeps God in the driver’s seat.
I don’t choose the topics. He does.
I don’t know what’s coming down the line. He does.
It’s extraordinary, really, to look back and get a glimpse of how purposeful and deliberate our God is as He takes us on a journey. How loving and sure.
These mile markers serve as reminders of His great faithfulness in our lives.
As 2017 comes to a close….
I want to challenge you to ask the Lord what He wants you to focus on in the coming year. He may surprise you, as He often does me.