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Ready for a New Focus?

The Christmas rush is over, the holiday meals behind, and you “go-getters” have probably already relegated the lights and decorations to storage. Things should be slowing down a bit, so now is the perfect time to evaluate and plan. A lot of people view the start of a new year as the opportunity to begin an exercise and weight loss program, start new habits, or annihilate poor ones.

This year, why not consider taking a spiritual approach to 2014’s entrance and make plans for tackling a new spiritual discipline or focus of study?

Consider a new level of spiritual maturity as your primary goal for 2014. 

[box]Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you (Philippians 3:13-15).[/box]

When fall approaches I start asking the Lord to place on my heart what I need to have as my spiritual focus for the next year. Each year that I’ve sought His direction, He’s never failed to make it clear what my focus of study needs to be. Next week I’ll share with you what He’s confirmed for 2014’s focus.

After spending time seeking the Lord about an area of spiritual growth for the year, I develop a plan. Here are a few suggestions if you’d like to join me in this activity:

  • Take some time each day to look up several Scriptures pertaining to the particular topic. A good way to accomplish this is by using a concordance. Simply look up a few references at a time, jotting down notes as you go and cross references to additional passages.
  • Record passages that are particularly meaningful or thought provoking on 3×5 cards or a journal for memorization (Or text it to yourself!) and use for further meditation.
  •  Research, purchase, and read good books on the particular topic. A good commentary is a great study tool that is worth investing in. Use resources as you would a school textbook. Don’t just read, but thoroughly study the subject.
  • Ask questions about the topic you’re studying. Be inquisitive in order to learn. Ask questions as you read Scripture, as you are in conversation with others, as you go through your day in prayer.
  • Humbly approach the topic of study, recognizing that although you may have some knowledge, there is still much to learn and apply to your life. Ask God for grace to grow in this area and to use your growth for His glory.
  • Don’t allow this to be merely an academic study—this should be a heart exercise! Approach the Word with trembling, asking God to open your eyes and ears to know what He wants to teach you.
  • Share with others what God is teaching you. Allow your transparency and admission of need in this area to be an example and inspiration for others to follow in pursuing spiritual maturity.

Would any of you like to join me in this endeavor? If so, how about sharing with us the area of growth you believe God is leading you to cultivate this year?

We can pray for one another as we enter this journey together!

5 Comments

  • Vivian Etherington

    Yes, I am joining you! I was deeply convicted a couple of weeks ago when my pastor delivered a sermon from Matthew7:7-12 “Asking, Seeking, Knocking”. My prayer life is weak and somewhat sporadic when it comes to fervency and persistence. I often struggle to stay focused. This is an area I really need and desire to grow in! I have some questions for you

  • Sandra

    I really want to grow this year in the area of prayer as well. Most often, my prayers are really just God-ward whining or wishing – sometimes even negotiating. My prayer life is nothing like the bold, faith-filled and yielded prayers modeled in Scripture and in the biographies I’m reading. This year my focus and prayer will be “Lord, teach me to pray.”

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hey Viv ~

    So glad that you are planning to study and focus on prayer! Watch the blog, next Tuesday I’ll have a post with some suggested resources for those of you who are planning to study prayer this year. Also, I have several posts on prayer in the archives.

    Blessings, friend!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    I can relate, Sandra! I really grew the year I studied prayer and had that as my focus of growth for the year, but I need to revisit some of that! So glad that you are planning to study and focus on prayer. Watch the blog, next Tuesday I’ll have a post with some suggested resources that you might find helpful. Also, I have several posts on prayer in the archives.

    I look forward to hearing what God teaches you!

    Blessings, friend!