By MONICA CANE
209 staff reporter
As 2015 comes to an end people all around the world are preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve and among other things, creating their resolution list that will be put into action at the stroke of midnight. This tradition dates back at least 3,000 years ago in ancient Babylon where people of that time and culture made promises to pay off debt and return borrowed farm equipment in order to start the new year off on the right foot.
We have similar resolutions today. Maybe not so much the returning farm equipment (unless you’re a farmer) but many of us do make resolutions to borrow less, pay off debts, lose weight, save money, travel often and spend more time with family and friends, to name a few.
One area that doesn’t always make the resolution list but is of great concern for many is the area of spiritual growth. The desire to grow spiritually and strengthen one’s faith, goes way beyond the well-intended resolution “to do list” instead, it is a one-day-at-a-time, lifetime goal to pursue.
Community member Bridget Christian has pursued this goal for years. Now that 2016 is almost here, she is reminded of her lifetime spiritual goal to strengthen her spirit by focusing more on God, His will and His ways. While the goal to focus is easy Bridget has learned that the application is not always as easy. Nevertheless focusing on God is the key.
“What we focus on will make all the difference. In a supercharged world that breeds business as a goal, focusing on God instead of yourself can be a real challenge” she says.
Many people try to accomplish the goal of spiritual growth on their own. Promising to do better, start fresh, make commitments, attend church more, give money and so forth but eventually a truth is revealed as Bridget well knows.
“When spiritual growth is your goal you can’t achieve it by yourself. It takes a power greater than ourselves. All the discipline in the world will not see me to success if I’m not glued to God in prayer. Without prayer and a deep anchor to [God] the Spirit of Power my focus will easily be distracted by the things in the world.”
As with any resolution or goal in order to achieve it you must create an action plan and then actually take action. With spiritual goals, we need God’s help to achieve anything so our first action is to pray. From there we learn His will by reading His Word and applying to our daily lives. Surround ourselves with people who have a similar goal will help hold us accountable to growing spiritual. These very action steps are all “disciplines that lead to greater trust, faith and profound spiritual growth” as Bridget has discovered.
We all know the joke of how resolutions are made on New Year’s Eve and then tossed aside a few days later. That’s because there are pitfalls that cause us to forget about our goals. Pitfalls that occur when we allow ourselves to get distracted by the ups and downs of life. The same holds true with spiritual goals. However, focusing on God and His truth helps to avoid pitfalls to growing strong spiritually.
“The goal is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds [through His Word] and accepting our weakness as the ground where God’s strength is perfected. The greater our focus on Him the less we will desire those things that will be our greatest pitfalls.”
Whether you are a once a year resolution list maker or a year-round goal setter, committing to growing stronger spiritually by staying focused on God one day at a time is a worthy goal for us all in 2016 and every day of our lives.