The first week of January is filled with hope. Past struggles and personal failures seem to be fading with our final singing of Auld Lang Syne. But I have found that my personal challenges don’t seem to disappear with the new calendar year. They stubbornly refuse to leave without a fight, and before long the facade of hope begins to crumble as I find that these old friends from my past year never really left at the stroke of midnight. They want to follow me into the new year.
I was reminded recently that prior to planning for the future, I need to take a good look at where I am presently. That’s good advice-especially when it comes to spiritual matters.
My good friend, Nicolas Ellen reminded our congregation of that truth yesterday with his message entitled Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Here are the questions with the accompanying Scriptures.
1.Do you hunger for the presence of God? (Psalm 42:1-2)
2. Are you increasingly being governed by God’s Word? (Psalm 3:1-3)
3. Have you become more loving or less loving towards others? (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
4. Are you growing in your usefulness to God? (1 Peter 4:10-11)
5. Do you grieve over your sin or are you excusing your sin? (2 Corinthians 7:10-11)
6. Who have you been living to please? (2 Corinthians 5:9,15)
7. How Have You been spending your time? (Ephesians 5:11-21)
8. What do you truly treasure in your heart? (Matthew 6:19-21)
9. Do You functionally trust in the Lord or do you functionally trust in yourself? (Proverbs 3:5-6)
10. Are You longing for the return of Jesus Christ? (1 John 3:1-3)
So maybe our plan for the next year should include a time of evaluation on where we fell short in the past year. In that way our New Year’s resolutions make for more effective change and not just lofty platitudes of false hope.