We have officially finished the first month of a new year. Oftentimes as we prepare for a new year, we make a list of things we wish to pursue or do, things we desire to improve upon in our lives, or altogether new goals we wish to achieve.
Whether you set new goals each year to achieve or not, a new year is the perfect time to evaluate how one is growing in the knowledge, grace, and love of the Lord. And, how one choose to grow in this area is a personal and daily choice. God desires to bring about growth and transformation in our lives. This will not just happen on all its own; it’s something we have to choose to pursue. It’s something only God can do in us, something we have to seek out each day, and the main conduit the Lord uses to bring about growth and transformation in our lives is his word.
At this point in a new year, you probably can identify the things that are keeping you from going after your resolutions and goals. Perhaps time or resources have been a barrier. Perhaps you’ve struggled with being self-disciplined, or perhaps it’s a lack of genuine commitment to your pursuits.
Maybe you’ve come to understand despite the lofty goals you may set for yourself, there’s a deeper need that must first be fulfilled inside of you. That deeper need and primary heart’s desire should be — should always be — more of God, more of his word, more of his truth and promises in our lives, more of his strength, more of his peace, more of his hope ... more of him.
Psalm 27:8 says, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek.’” The posture of this prayer is a heart that pursues God to greater depths. This holy pursuit should be our chief aim and our greatest desire. Everything else flows from this and is sustained by this. When one is on a journey seeking spiritual growth, the Lord will be faithful to satisfy that hunger for his truth and righteousness.
As the goodness of God and his irreplaceable truth transforms you, you’ll grow in the wisdom and strength you’ll actually need to fully accomplish all of the other goals you’re pursuing. Time pursuing God and his holy word will transform your thoughts, emotions, and actions with his divine will, his faithful love, his peace and truth. When your life is saturated with the knowledge and goodness of the Lord, then genuine passion, clear purpose, lasting peace, and God-centered satisfaction will fill your life.
We will not really grow without God; therefore, we will not be growing if we’re not truly seeking him.
If you desire to make seeking God and his face your chief aim, consider taking these three steps:
First, get help. You can’t do what only God can do apart from him, so go to him. If you want to grow in God’s truth, then you’ll need to know how to study the Bible. If you don’t know how to do that, then again, get help. There are an abundance of resources available. Don’t make excuses.
Second, seek accountability. Ask others to hold you accountable to growing in the knowledge of God. See what has worked for them and try to apply that to your own routine.
And, finally, don’t give up. It won’t always be a cakewalk. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile usually is. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the desire, self-control, and faithfulness to spend time each day in his presence so you may develop your relationship with God.
The best way to consistently encounter the transformative love of God is to set aside time with him each day you never miss. Creating a habit can be difficult, but there’s no greater pursuit than one that deepens your relationship with him. The time you spend with God is of eternal value. Pick a time you can consistently meet with him. The more you do it the easier it will become. And, just watch ... as you grow in the knowledge of God and his goodness, the time you spend with him will become your favorite time of the day.
Nick Emery is pastor of Hope Crossing Community Church and executive director of Life Choices Community Pregnancy Clinic. He can be reached at email@example.com.