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How will you grow in 2015?

December 16, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Discipleship

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:7-14)

I have often heard it said that God loves us just the way we are, but that He loves us too much to let us stay the way we are. Once He has rescued us from our sin and brought us back into a relationship with Him, God’s desire is to get rid of all of the sin inside of us until we are holy, until we live and love the way Jesus does. And that work, known as the work of sanctification, takes a lifetime.

With this in mind, look back over the past year. Where have you seen God’s purifying work in your life? How are you different in December 2014 than you were in December 2013? Are you more like Jesus? And as you look ahead to 2015, where can you make an intentional effort to grow in your faith? As you reflect upon that question over the next few weeks, consider some of the following possibilities:

• Read through the Bible in a year, or over the next two years if one year is too ambitious
• Try to live on less: declutter, get rid of things you don’t need, resist the urge to spend on more
• Set aside an evening a week for prayer or Bible study with your spouse or family or a friend
• Get involved in a community group and develop deeper relationships with people in the church
• Make it a point to fast on a more regular basis and to seek God in prayer during those times instead
• Try serving in a new area of ministry or outreach that you have never tried before
• Seek out someone to mentor you
• Seek out someone younger than you in the faith that you can mentor
• Spend more time with your neighbors
• Try to become more organized
• Try to observe the Sabbath more, taking time to regularly rest
• Increase the amount you give financially to the church
• Take a class or read a book that will help you grow in an area of weakness
• Educate yourself about an issue of justice that matters to the heart of God
The end of a year gives us a natural opportunity to stop and reflect upon where we have been and where we are headed. Take some time between now and January 1st to make a plan with God to grow more like Jesus in specific and intentional ways in 2015.

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