As we start this New Year, let’s remember that there is no substitute for time spent with our Father in Heaven. Time in His Word and prayer is never wasted. It sets our compass needle to true north, and brings a quality to all the rest of our time. “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you…” (Psalm 63:1).
Looking to make a New Year’s resolution? A great place to start is with what Colossians 3:16 says: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Holy habits such as meditation, prayer, and church should be determined commitments. Our choices show what we value most: TV, internet, sports, hobbies or God’s Word? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
Our hearts and character won’t change until our habits change. Time in God’s Word doesn’t just happen. You must choose wisely to make it happen. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
And what a privilege it is to spend time in God’s Word! There's nothing like it. Its depths are endless. You can never exhaust it. Day after day, year after year, it always has more to offer. “Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders” (Psalm 119:27).
John Piper shares some thoughts on the importance of planning and making God’s Word a priority as you start the new year:
Very specifically my plea to you this new year is that you take time to plan the most important things in your life. …Plan how you are going to spend time with your spouse to deepen and strengthen the relationship. Plan how you are going to spend time playing with and teaching the children. Plan how you are going to get the amount of exercise you need to stay healthy. Plan how you are going to get enough sleep. Plan how much you should eat and how you are going to limit yourself. Plan your vacation so that it really gives rest and spiritual renewal.
And most important, plan how prayer and meditation on the Word are going to be significant parts of your life. Without a plan these most important things always get pushed aside by urgent pressures.
Make Planning a Regular Part of Your Life
But it won't work just to plan something tonight or tomorrow. Planning must be a regular part of your life.
…So my plea to you is that you set aside time each week to plan, especially to plan your life of prayer and Bible study. For example, since Sunday is the first day of the week (not the last day of the weekend!) and belongs to the Lord, take ten or fifteen minutes each Sunday and think through when you will pray and what you will study that week. Give some thought how God might want to use you that week in a special way. Plan the letters you need to write, the Bible verses you want to teach your children, the visit you want to make, the book you want to read, the neighbor you want to talk to, etc.
…God is a God who does all things according to plan. And Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem because of the most loving plan ever devised. He planned for our joy; we ought to plan for his glory.
Jesus said, “I have told you this so that you can share my joy, and that your happiness may be complete” (John 15:11, Phillips). May your New Year be centered on Jesus and happy in Him!
Photo by Jonathan J. Castellon on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.