A year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred sixty-five days. These are measurements of my life, and until my physical life ends, they will be constant. My thoughts this time of year focus on the challenge of making the most of these measurements of time. Since I have no knowledge when time on earth will end for me, I want to be intentional for moving forward with the full intention of what God has called me to be and do. Thessalonians 1:11 says: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.”
Many of you will join me in prayerfully committing to intentions for moving forward in our spiritual maturity in 2022. Paul seems to assume we do that and asks God to make it happen by His power. But before we start a reading plan, a diet, an exercise routine, or work on ourselves, I believe there must be a reason large enough to actually accomplish these goals. Statistics say that most resolutions have been forgotten by February.
For me, there are two major considerations for carrying out my yearly intentions. The most important is “by His power.” When anything I intend to do is left to my own strength or focus, it usually fails. However, when I commit to moving forward by His power, that is an undeniable victory. The verse on my office wall reminds me daily that He “can do more than I can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within me.” That gives me great courage to know whatever I intend to do in 2022 will be magnified by His power.
The second consideration for my intentions is to make sure I have a “why” that makes the effort of change worthwhile. For example, if my intention is to read the Bible daily, the “why” must be such a thirst for knowing the heart of God that nothing would keep me from it. Not only do I read, but I consider it, I journal it, I pray over it. Paul defines the ‘why’ as “God may make you worthy of his calling” which means actually fulfilling the things I intend to do for good and do them in faith. Good resolves begin and end with God.
A person recently said, “I don’t do New Year’s resolutions; I just do me.” As believers, there is everything wrong with this declaration. Whether it’s at the beginning of a year or another time, if we are not intentionally challenging ourselves to grow in the calling of God, we become malnourished children. God’s children do not live in a world of one. We exist in a world of one another. Intentions to grow impact everyone around us. Are they worth my effort to exemplify the power of God in me as He changes and grows me?
I encourage families to take seriously the opportunity this time of year to talk about intentions for each member. Create an environment of spiritual growth by being specific in how each member can experience the power of God in 2022. To this end I am praying.