Starting the New Year well
Five ways you can deepen your faith in 2016.
With the New Year underway, there are some things you may want to make a priority in 2016. Many people will have goals relating to relationships (socialise more), health (go to the gym frequently), education or finances (get top grades or get a promotion). Although these things are of some value, spiritual disciplines are valuable in every way. So for 2016 here are some spiritual disciplines you can try:
Colossians 4:2-4 tells us to devote ourselves to prayer. We pray to align our heart’s desires to God's. It is the will of God that we pray consistently and He also delights in our prayers (Proverbs 15:8).
Set aside time each day to pray, free from any distractions. If you sometimes find yourself not knowing what to pray for, make a list of things that you are thankful for, prayer requests from family and friends, not forgetting your country and the world. Also pray for the persecuted church and the local church.
Read the word of God diligently and frequently, not just reading the words but actually processing and putting the word into action.
A really good way to dig deep is to get a notebook and pen and write down the verse or chapter and look at each word, questioning why they were used or the context and what it means for us today. Remember, the Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)!
Bible reading plans also help to explore the Bible thoroughly. Maybe 2016 is the year you read the whole Bible!
Furthermore, the Bible is at the tip of our fingers with many Bible apps available. You can even listen to the Bible on the bus or in the car or during chores. The possibilities are endless.
Fasting is a way to show God that nothing else matters (not even food) apart from Him. If giving up food isn’t right for you, you can fast from things that you are really used to doing. For example, try to have ‘internet-free days’ where you do not use the internet for social media or for anything els, with the goal to sharpen your affections for Christ.
Take time to wonder at God’s glory through his creation.
Look at a tree, marvel at your fingerprints, count the stars or just take a few more seconds savouring your foods. Whatever you do, be still and know that the Lord is God (Psalm 46:10).
Follow them through
Finally, it is very easy to write these resolutions down, but difficult to actually do them.
Many people tend to give up their resolutions in February. But we as Christians are not like ‘many people’, so make the effort to follow these resolutions throughout the year and into the future. God will work through your efforts to grow your faith!