“Now, the Lord of Armies says this: “Think carefully about your ways.” Haggai 1:5
“Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives.” – Don Whitney
We bought the television from Kmart in Taylors in 1988. Long before flat screens or digital technology, this set included the turn knobs and required the antenna wires to be wrapped around the screws on the back of the tv. I watched many a show on that set while I lived at home. My mother – not one to be abreast of the latest technology – just got rid of this set one month ago. I surprised her with a new flat-screen television in early December, and we unplugged the old set that served our family for thirty years. I left the set at the dump to be released into 1980’s household electronics after-life.
Moving into another year involves letting go of old things and embracing some new ones. For me, the first couple of weeks of January include getting my mind in gear as I shift from the holidays into the winter of another calendar year.
I love the sights, sounds, routines, and excesses of Christmas. And partly because of my melancholy temperament, I find my spirit somewhat deflated the week or two after Christmas as the decorations go down and the feasting turns into dieting! I find it helpful to embrace disciplines early in January, turn my mind into preparing for a productive year, and set my spirit to seek the Lord afresh.
For me, January involves getting back to basic disciplines of life. Because tax season looms, it requires working on family finances. Typically, January involves organizing – going through files, books, computers and deciding what needs to be thrown out, saved, or used. Often that includes discovering forgotten treasures – a note from a loved one, a picture from a child, an idea I scribbled on a piece of paper and filed. It involves digging out from the Christmas clutter and making way for new things for a fresh year.
offers a good time to re-evaluate myself spiritually. I try to dig again
into a healthy spiritual disciplines routine. I make concrete goals in
areas like prayer, Bible reading, or Scripture memorization. How might I
intentionally try to influence someone for Christ this year? How can I assist
the poor or someone in a difficult situation?
I ask, “What are some good books I am going to read the next few months to help me grow spiritually and intellectually?” One man said that there are only 2 things that will make you different 5 years from now than you are today – the people you meet and the books you read. So, choosing good books to help our spiritual growth is essential.
The prophet Haggai exhorted God’s people to think carefully about their ways. After returning to the homeland, they neglected to build God’s Temple and seek first His reign in their lives. Instead, they focused on their own houses and benefits. God challenges them to take spiritual inventory. With the prophet’s words, they can make adjustments where they have slipped.
After a busy holiday season, it is easy for me to become self-absorbed. God’s Word reminds me to carefully think about my own life and how I want it to reflect the Lord in the coming year.
As we learn from the past, let’s set our focus to learn new things from the Lord, trust Him today, and accomplish His purposes in our lives in this fresh year.
I’ve just started Michael Catt’s book The Power of Purpose. In the Introduction, he writes, “As long as God is on the throne, there is hope. . . . Whatever you are facing, look it in the face and look God in the face and ask Him what He wants you to learn. Wherever you are, it’s not an accident. God can take a setback and turn it into a stepping stone. . . . I believe hope and purpose are tied together. If I have a sense of purpose, I have hope. If I have hope, I have a sense of purpose. Purpose matters. . . . God didn’t place us here and wish us good luck. He didn’t make us in His image to be a victim of circumstances. He put us here to be overcomers.”
- What area(s) of your life could stand for some evaluation this month?
- Write down one or two practical steps or goals to achieve in each area.
- Ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment to know how to best order your life for a new year.