Looking Back and Looking Forward


As another year draws to a close, I inevitably start looking to the new year. Budgets are again created for our household and business. I come up with personal goals having to do with my health, my home, and my walk with God. I suppose I am not alone in this past time. Many of us use this time to look forward and set goals. And while we don’t always get very far on our goals, budgets, and plans to lose weight, it is very important that we keep trying and working and praying. We can’t just give up.

One of the best starts to next year is first taking a few moments to reflect on  last year. And so I decided to ask myself a few questions–

Am I closer to the Lord now than I was last year at this time?

What did I do that matters for eternity this past year?

Do I look more like Jesus right now than I did one year ago? Five years ago? Twenty years ago?

You may think I am a little obsessed with the spiritual side of things and I guess you would be right. As I get older, I can’t help but realize that it is really the only thing — long-term– that matters. And, quite honestly, out of my good spiritual health flows other good things–better relationships, self-control, joy.

But we can never manipulate God. And so it can never be our desire to have good spiritual health so that we can get what we want out of life.  There is such a push to fulfill ourselves and find our purpose that we can sometimes forget that our purpose is to glorify God. As a believer, my desire is to please Him, not myself.

This takes me back to my goals for the new year.  Am I creating these goals for me? Or do I have pleasing God in mind?

I can honestly say that –while there is an element of selfishness in them — more and more I become acutely aware of the fact that lack of self-control is a sin. And this is the main reason why I don’t stop trying to lose weight, to stick to a budget, and to stop wasting time.

God has given me (and you) some incredible resources. The three I specifically think of are our body, our time, and our money. If we don’t intentionally care for these resources they can be frittered away into nothingness (or in the case of our bodies — be enlarged into a great something!)

And this has been my experience on more occasions than I care to admit. And so I keep setting goals. But I try to set them in light of my spiritual health.

Because I want to serve and honor Jesus in this new year. And I cannot do that if I am lacking self-control in my life.

I know lots of people have given up on setting “New Year’s Resolutions”. But I want to encourage you to take a few minutes today for reflection. The new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and to set hopeful goals for the new year. But let’s set those goals with the Lord in mind. And let’s remember that Jesus is by our side as we fight against the sin and bad habits that so easily beset us, ready to strengthen and help us.

Isaiah 41:10
I Corinthians 10:13
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Psalm 46:1

4 thoughts on “Looking Back and Looking Forward”

  1. This post struck a chord with me. I often make time to pray so I will feel better and be more at peace. I enter into prayer selfishly. Hopefully this is a change I can make in 2014. Happy New Year, Leslie.

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