January 16, 2020
Today is the 16th of January. And just like that, we’re halfway through the first month of the new year (or decade). How time flies!
In the first two weeks of this year, a lot has happened. There were rumors of break ups and wars, and a natural calamity that no one was expecting literally shook the world. There is so much distress in the world, and it can cause us to be overwhelmed. I mean, we also have our own lives to think about—our school requirements, our friendships, our families, and our future. It seems like it’s impossible to live and breathe!
But there is hope. Despite all the overwhelming and seemingly dire circumstances happening in the world, God is still God, and He is doing a new thing. Each new year is a gift, and He doesn’t want us to just go through the motions like robots—existing without joy and hope. The new thing He is doing is not just to our surroundings, but in us as well.
Before we get lost in the frantic brouhaha of life, why don’t we take a moment to assess our lives and recalibrate ourselves for the new year?
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.”
Isaiah 43:19 (MSG)
The question now is this:
What new things is God doing in my life and in my world this year?
How do I position myself in the center of God’s plan so that I won’t miss out on what He’s doing?
With that, I urge you to pause from reading and get a pen and paper.
Like, seriously. Get a pen and a notepad now!
Okay, now take a deep breath, then exhale.
Let’s do this.
Below are ten questions to help you recalibrate your life. As you go through these questions, I want you to reflect, write your answers, and make a commitment to God and to yourself.
For Christians, our deepest hurts and biggest messes are never a waste. God can use these to help us mature and to become more like Him. What wrong decisions or unwise actions led to unpleasant consequences? What did these mistakes teach you, and how can you grow from these experiences?
Our greatest pursuit in life should be God and our relationship with Him. On a scale of 1–10, how do you measure your current relationship with God in terms of your knowledge of Him, your intimacy with Him, and your obedience to Him?
What discipline do you need to develop in order to pursue God more this year?
The Bible encourages us to make the best use of our time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). Nothing in this world is neutral. The message and media we consume form our convictions and transform our beliefs. Our habits take more than just our time— they take our hearts and shape our lives.
What good habits do you need to develop? What healthy alternatives do you need to consume in order to replace the trash the world offers?
Yes, God is doing a new thing, and He is willing and able to supply all our needs. God exceeds the limitations of our physical reality—He provides miraculously, heals supernaturally, and works mysteriously. What big prayers can you pray this year? Take a leap of faith and believe God that He will do bigger and greater things!
God’s grace is more than just His unconditional forgiveness for our sins; it is God’s power in us that allows us to live life apart from sin. What habitual sin do you need to surrender to God? God is able to make His grace abound to you. His grace is enough to transform our weakness into strength.
Is there a mentor who can help you overcome this sinful pattern? When can you meet with him or her to help you with this? What adjustments do you need to make to avoid this sinful habit? How can you grow more passionate for God so He can transform your desires?
For many of us, our family is the easiest to take for granted whenever life gets busy or things turn bad. We chase our dreams, love other people, and spend time on people and things, while we leave our families behind.
This year, how can you serve them better? How do you plan to spend more time with your parents? How can you build friendships with your siblings?
The Bible says we are Christ’s ambassador to the world. We represent Him in our presence, words, and actions. How can you represent Him better this year in your academics? How can you represent Jesus in your friendship with your classmates? How can your teachers see Jesus in you this year?
They say that even the most introverted person in the world can influence at least 1,000 people in one’s entire lifetime. Whether we do it on purpose or not, our words and actions have an impact on those around us.
Who are the people you can intentionally influence for good this year? What good influence can you have on these people? How do you plan to influence them for the good?
Our stewardship in life covers our skills, talents, and resources, among others. God’s will is to enrich us so that we can abound in every good work that He has planned for us to do (2 Corinthians 9:8).
As you make better use of your time this year, what do you want to develop or grow in? Who are the mentors, coaches, or people that can help you? To whom can you be accountable so that someone can challenge and remind of your goals?
Of course, changing the world is entirely in the hands of God, but He has given us a measure of grace that enables us to make a positive change in the world.
What advocacy can you pursue to contribute to the betterment of the world? In your own way, what can you do to help the needy, uplift the depressed, protect the environment, and spread hope? It doesn’t have to be grand and ambitious. Start with what you have—your resources, connections, or social media platforms. You are a world-changer. You can change your part of the world as God empowers you.
These things are more than just New Year’s resolutions to help us have a right start this year. We know that these things will not remain to be pipe dreams when we tap into God’s enabling grace so we can experience the full and abundant life He has planned for us.
After all, it is God who works in us to will and act according to His good pleasure and purpose (Philippians 2:13). So, friends, let us rely on God’s grace and run the race with the strength that He supplies.
Together, let us approach this year strong as we rely on the strength of His might!