Happy New Year to you all! It is now 2017 and another year has come and gone. I am not one for resolutions but I am the kind who looks back on the past year to see what worked and what didn’t. As a result of the look at the past I put questions to myself. Normally, I keep asking myself questions until I get to the root of what needs to change. What kind of questions do you put to your self? What are they based on? Are they based on past failures or past successes? Do they lead to more failure or more success? Do you ask anything of yourself?
There are three questions we should ask ourselves once a year at the very least.
- Did I know God better?
- Did I know people better?
- Did I know self better?
Do I know God Better?
We are in an age where knowing God is not a good thing to the world but Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:24 we would be inundated by false Christ’s and false prophets that would fool many, even the elect, if that is possible. How are you preparing yourself so you are not fooled? Eating solid food is the most important part of not being fooled in your ignorance. I can tell you that I do not like being fooled. I have heard some untruths about the Lord and believed them only to discover I had been fooled. How did I know I was fooled? I set my face to knowing God the Father, God the Man, God the Spirit. To know God better you have to ask yourself how well you know all three.
Once you have discovered how much you know and how much you don’t know set a goal for 2017 to know Him better. I do know how hard it is but it determines life or death, hope or despair. You have to choose life and hope over death and despair! Start out by committing to five minutes per day of Bible time or God time. You can spend one minute reading and the rest thinking about what you read allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you. I have been a Jesus follower for 15 years but I have not read the whole bible 15 times only three and studied the different books or words thousands of times. I am reading through my fourth time chronologically, which is very exciting. My next time will be with an Archeological Bible because I want to know history and geography much better. I will assume that will take me a couple maybe three years to read. There is no time limit reading the Bible and there is no set schedule for this daunting task but there is a need to do so! Without this task you will never know God better. Not everything you learn will be found in the Bible but it is the only place to start learning Him better.
Do I know People Better?
The second important question I ask myself is also about knowing God better. Since God has created all of us we need to know each other better to know God better. The one goal I set in 2016 was based on Ephesians 4:29 to make sure every word I utter is to build up not tear down. On the whole I was successful especially if I look back on pasted years. Since gossip is not allowed in my conversations I had to learn to listen more so I would be able to talk about other things giving me the opportunity to know people better.
Sometimes our goals have to be sought out and tested over the years before we are able to make them happen. A goal to know people better might start with a goal to talk less and if you are an extravert (like me) that will take some time. It is doable though and very rewarding when we are able to succeed. Our friends become true friends, our family becomes new to us and our encouragement to people has real meaning. These might be daunting goals for 2017 so we need to start small and test our goals first. Pay attention to your daily activities for the next couple of times you meet with people including your spouse. Who does most of the talking? What do you know about them? What do you talk about? What are you thinking about? If you discover that more corrupt words come out of your mouth than encouraging words you are not alone. I discovered that to be true for me many years ago and have been working on it for just as long. I have made great progress and am pretty happy with my words now. I still revert back to my old self sometimes but on the whole encouraging words are first out of my mouth rather than corrupt words. That is a complete turn around for me so if I can do it you can as well but you have to start. Set a goal for 2017 to lead you in this direction and you will know people better.
Do I know Me Better?
Unlike knowing God and people better this is more of a self-serving goal. To know God better or to know people better we need to know how we do this best. How best do I worship God? How best do I make people feel encouraged? These are things only we can discover about ourselves because outside of our Lord we know us best. No one spends more time with us than us! The big question is, “Do you spend enough time with you to actually know these answers?” If you are avoiding yourself you will never know God or people better because you will never know how to know them better.
Set goals this year to discover who God created you to be. How are you gifted? What do you do best? How do you learn best? You are new in Christ and discovering the new you makes life very exciting. It is like opening Christmas presents every day. To get to the new you we have to shed the old and that may be where the stumbling block resides. Colossians 3:1-17 is a very good start to learning more. There are plenty of good things we already know about ourselves and I suggest you start there. Discover the good and use it to discard the bad. Are you tenacious? Use the tenacity to learn. Are you passionate? Use the passion to discover. Are you quick witted? Use your wit to wade through your trash. Set your mind to performing your utmost best to discover who you are this year and why you exist today. Why has God seen fit to allow you to live today and not 100 years ago? He has a plan that includes everyone in the world but you are special. You have your own plan, no one else can complete, and this plan is why you need to know yourself better.
Knowing more should be a daily goal!
To overcome in God’s economy we should set knowing more as our daily goal. It has been my goal for as long as I can remember to learn something new each day but I have centered it over time. I do not spend my days learning useless information about events or details that will not move me closer to knowing God, people and myself better.
To improve our life skills we need to govern the way we spend our days. When I look at each day my goal is to have improved my outlook on life from the day before. Do I have more hope today than yesterday? Why, no matter what the answer. We tend to think because we are followers of Jesus Christ that hope is a by-product but it is not! We have the hope that we will live with Him forever but is that hope grounded in how we are living on a daily basis?
Let me write out my goals for 2017 regarding these questions for you so you see where I am going this year.
- How will I get to know Elohim better: by reading, studying the Scriptures and communing with Them to understand end times better. (I focus on topics)
- How will I get to know people better: by enjoying their presence at all times while listening and asking more questions. (‘enjoying them’ is new for me)
- How will I get to know me better: by focusing more on my daily tasks for God opposed to the future. (I am future task oriented so God has put it on my heart to concentrate on today and let Him worry about tomorrow)
I am gifted by God to be able to set goals but that doesn’t mean that I have the stamina to stay the course on every goal I set. Elohim has said ‘no’ to many of my goals forcing me to change direction. If you are not a goal setter, learn, because goals are how we get work done. Ask yourself with each thing you want to do in your life how you can realistically get to that place then begin setting small goals that will take you in that direction.
We are here to accomplish something greater than what we can ever imagine! When we set out mind to know God, people and ourselves better that greater accomplishment will eventually be revealed to us!