Once again, I’ve issued you the challenge to adopt a spiritual focus for the year. I’ve invited you into an intentional pursuit of God that brings the joy of knowing Him more intimately.
For those of you who are considering joining me in tackling a specific spiritual focus for the year, I thought I’d tear out the first page from this year’s journal and share it here (well, not literally, actually I’m digitally copying it for you).
My Goals, Prayers, and Perspective for 2017
Goal: Spirit-Accomplished-Transformation to Christ-likeness
I’m asking God to produce the fruit of the Spirit, I see the need especially for kindness and patience. He knows what I need more than I do, but I desperately need His transforming work. I’m asking Him to bring a greater sensitivity to His Spirit’s conviction and discernment of His movements. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” I’m asking for God to give me a greater understanding of this and to work this within me that I might share a message of hope and freedom to women who are bound and defeated.
Perspective: Unveiled beholding of God’s glory
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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. Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 3:17–4:1).
Assignment: Do Not Lose Heart
I will not lose heart as I hold fast to hope. And this isn’t any hope, this is the hope that is confident expectation based on the knowledge of past experience. I’ve seen God work. I’ve witnessed His power. He is the Resurrection and the Life and I can place my security in Him. Hope provides the foundation for faith. Faith is the reality of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).
Spiritual Growth Focus: Hope
“. . . We who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain . . .” (Hebrews 6:18–19)
“Let it be my concern to devote myself and all to thee. Make me more fruitful and more spiritual, for barrenness is my daily affliction and load. How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly with little done to good purpose! I need thy help: O may my soul sensibly depend upon thee for all sanctification, and every accomplishment of thy purposes for me, for the world, and for thy kingdom.” (Valley of Vision)
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.
- Go online to research the topic. Visit good websites which offer recorded messages like: Revive Our Hearts, Desiring God, or Grace to You.
- 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!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at www.freedigitalphotos.net