Ready for 2013?

I shared with you in November that fall is always a time of reflecting and anticipating what’s ahead for me. I take stock of the past year and prepare for the next by asking God to confirm what He wants my spiritual focus to be for the coming year.

2012 was rich. I loved the study He took me through on “Knowing God.” The verse He used to confirm that as my topic of study for the year was Hosea 6:3:

“Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

Studying to know God more intimately involves: digging into His Word, studying His character, thinking about the ways He’s revealed Himself to us, recognizing the ways He’s worked in the past and is now working.

My study of knowing God has led me to a study of the Trinity.

I am currently enjoying working my way through Delighting in the Trinity, by Michael Reeves (Tim Challies has a helpful review here).  

I’m slowly reading and thinking about each Scripture Reeves reference and jotting down my thoughts in my journal. This study will serve as my bridge from 2012 to 2013’s new spiritual focus.

This year I’ll be studying the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

I’ve never done a year-long study on the Holy Spirit and am excited to find out what God wants to teach me. He’s used several Scriptures to confirm this as my focus for study this year, but these in particular keep coming to mind:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) 

I want Him to teach me what He knows I need to learn. I desire to gain a greater knowledge of this often misunderstood member of the Trinity, not for the sake of cerebral accumulation . . . No!

I want to know Him more, so that I can love God more, walk in His ways, and be transformed into His likeness. 

And that’s what the next Scripture states:

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The Spirit is the One who brings the necessary transformation that I so desperately need.

I want Him to do that work. I desire to recognize and yield to the Spirit’s leading. I want to be conformed to His image and I want to learn to walk in the Spirit rather than following my natural tendencies or emotions:

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

I’ve gathered a few books that I plan to work through in conjunction with this year’s study: 

God the Holy Spirit by Dr. Martyn Loyd Jones

Keep in Step with the Spirit by J. I. Packer

Communion with the Triune God by John Owen

Each has some fairly heavy content, and I hope to make it through all of them, but most of all, I hope to glean this year what God knows I need. He knows what He has in store for me, and I’m thankful that He’ll use what He’s leading me to study as a foundation for what He’ll bring into my life this year.

I’ve learned that in order to grow, I have to be seriously intentional in pursuing what God wants me to learn. 

If I have good intentions, but take a laid-back approach, I can procrastinate and end up moving steadily backward—missing out on some good stuff God has for me. I want to “redeem” the short allotment of time I have here (Ephesians 5).

How about you?

Do you have a spiritual discipline you’re focusing on this year, or an aspect of God, a fruit of the Spirit, or a book of the Bible?

I’d love to hear from you and know what you’re studying and what God is teaching you. 

I’d also love for you to send any book recommendations you have. Let’s dive into 2013 with a heart to learn what God knows we need!


  • Jody

    I’ve also been reading Delighting in the Trinity. Had to put it down for awhile to let some of the great truths settle in my heart and mind. Going back to it for 2013. Happy 2013!!!

  • Nancy

    I am going to study the spiritual disciplines this year. I am going to use “The Disciplines of the Christian Life” by Eric Liddell as my guide during daily quiet time. I am also going to read and reflect on the book “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster during 2013, Lord willing.

    Kim, what Bible translation do you use for your study? Do you use a study Bible or one without study notes?

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Jody ~

    So cool that we’re both reading the same book right now. I’d love to hear from you what God is teaching you, and when you’re finished with it, how the book impacted your life. Happy 2013 to you as well 🙂

    Blessings, friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Greetings, Nancy ~

    Thank you for sharing what you’ll be studying this year. Please let us hear how that goes and what God teaches you.

    I mainly refer to the New American Standard (NASB), or the English Standard (ESV), I even use the KJV sometimes (keep all three at my study area). But I also often pull up a verse or passage I’m studying to see it in several translations and the original (whether Greek or Hebrew), there are so many helpful tools for that online.

    I have a faithful (very old and falling apart) John MacArthur Study Bible, and the HUGE ESV Study Bible, that I refer to often, I also have a hardbound set of “Matthew Henry’s Commentary” that I just love. You can find that online as well, you don’t have to purchase the books to get the benefit of his comments.

    Praying you find rich treasure this year in studying the spiritual disciplines and that it will take you to greater depths of loving Him!

    Blessings to you!

  • Tambra Lucas

    God has been speaking to my heart since around August about prayer. I have a prayer life but I feel God wants it to be deeper, more intense, longer, desperately seeking Him, not just prayer in my relationship to Him but for and with others. Just haven’t really surrendered to His request wholeheartedly, I cannot make a vow or promise to God, that I will not keep , I am not a promise breaking person without extreme conviction or guilt so sometimes that hinders me from making very important commitments. When I commit to doing something important, my mind is pretty much set in stone. I have a sense of adversity, desperation, need, and of hard times coming in 2013 for many. I feel like we as a nation need to be on our faces desperately seeking God. And so I want my conversation with God to be sincere, changed, and charged, but with an attitude of unwavering trust and confidence in Christ no matter the circumstances or the outcome, being the overcomer and helping others overcome their hardships through Him by prayer. I want to be extremely wowed and humbled in His presence. I want to seek Him like never before so that when I enter into His presence of worship, I am overwhelmed in awe, of who He is. I am not a pretender, it’s real or fake to me. I don’t want to just throw out beautiful words like the pharisees or repetitive request, but with dependence and gratitude. But I know an ultimate relationship with Him depends on ultimate conversations with Him. I am thinking of purchasing the new book on prayer by Charles Stanley, “Ultimate Conversation” have you read it? And or do you have other recommendations to grow your prayer life dramatically?? I sense this is the direction God is leading me to be prepared and ready for 2013.

  • Vivian Etherington

    I will be studying the book of Colossians, a Precept study, for the first part of the year. In addition, I am still deciding what Bible reading plan I will use for the year.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Tambra ~

    I’m excited about your study focus for the year! I’ve written a few blog posts on this topic that you might find helpful. You can follow these links to check them out:

    Also, the year that prayer was my spiritual focus, I loved studying D. A. Carson’s book: “A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers.” Carson takes you through all of Paul’s prayers and provides solid and helpful insight into how Scripture should shape our prayer life. This book is truly a great resource that needs to be read through slowly and thoughtfully and returned to regularly.

    I’ve found Andrew Murray’s books on prayer helpful as well as Paul Miller’s “A Praying Life.”

    I have some new books on prayer by an author I’ve never read before (hoping to start them soon). Since I’ve never read this author (or these books) I don’t know whether I can recommend them yet, but I’ll let you know later in the year if they’re solid/helpful.

    I hope you’ll let us hear how your study is going and what God teaches you this year!

    Blessings, friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Vivian ~

    Colossians is SO GOOD! I especially love the practical exhortation in chapter 3 (which I’ve shared with you before :-)). I look forward to hearing what God teaches you in the study!

    Blessings, friend ~