Last Sunday I was blessed to preach for the Wellandport Church in Wainfleet, Ontario, Canada. I have spoken there many times over the past few years, but it’s always a special treat to be with these wonderful brethren.
The Shepherds asked me to present lessons this month on my series “Let’s Renew in ‘22,” my preaching and writing theme this year. My keynote lesson takes the form often used in a New Year’s sermon, challenging us to take inventory of our lives, reevaluate our priorities, and set goals.
It occurred to me that we’re at a halfway point in the year, which is not a bad time to reexamine ourselves. Have your New Year’s resolutions, and 2022 goals fallen by the wayside?
I will ask our readers, what I asked them, “What will you do with the rest of 2022? As of this writing, there are 179 days left in the year. Of course, we offer this with James’ inspired caveat.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (Jas. 4:13-14).
But, if the “Lord wills” and you live another 179 days to see January 1, 2023, what will you accomplish?
Do you need to…
…Reestablish your course in life.
…Revitalize buried dreams.
…Repair ruptured relationships.
…Renew your commitments.
…Revive your spiritual longings.
…Restore your heavenly vision.
…Reinforce your Biblical values.
…Return to the Lord.
Maybe you need to renew some Bible basics in your life such as reenergizing a stale prayer life, recommencing a regular Bible reading program, or returning to weekly worship and Bible study with your church family?
Perhaps it’s bigger goals and greater dreams that you need to dust off and revive. Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey and what you would like to accomplish in the next 179 days, here are some suggestions that will help you.
#1 Believe that renewal is possible.
We’re commanded, “be renewed in the attitude of your mind” (Eph. 4:23). Apparently, Paul and the Holy Spirit believed we can be renewed. When we accept that premise then growth begins and we can fulfill Peter’s challenge to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).
#2 Decide what you truly value.
You will only prioritize what you consider valuable, and schedule the time for what is really important in your life. Jesus reminds us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Are your spiritual values more important than earthly and material pursuits?
One writer observed, “It is unlikely you will become the person you want to be if the decisions you make conflict with your values.”
#3 Focus on specifics.
Too often we generalize with platitudes like, “I want to be a better Christian.” How? Why? What would make you a better Christian? What attitudes and actions do you need to develop? Or what habits do you need to quit? This calls for something often uncomfortable. Paul’s exhortation “To examine yourself whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5).
#4 Emphasize the internal instead of the external. And stay focused on the eternal instead of the temporary.
After looking inward and outward, you need to look upward. Don’t allow situations, circumstances, and conditions that are less than ideal to keep you from accomplishing your spiritual quest. The apostle Paul’s admonition ought to serve as both an important reminder and a challenging motivator.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
What will you do in the next 179 days?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman