Monday, January 27, 2014

New Year - New Goal, New Growth

I haven't made any New Year's Resolutions for the past couple of years. I have in the past and at times they have been helpful. At other times, I, like so many others, didn't last beyond the first month of my "commitment." What I have done in the past that has been helpful is something that I'm going to do this year, and I just thought I'd share it for the mutual benefit and accountability. I got this idea several years ago from a good friend and mentor of mine, Jesse Martin (you can follow him on Twitter at the handle @jmartincoaching).

At the time, I was a full-time youth pastor and I got to spend a great week in Austin, Texas with him asking a lot of questions about his ministry approach. One of the principles that I took away comes directly from scripture, and it involves personal growth. Luke 2:52 says, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and with favor in God and man." Broken down, this shows four ways that we can set goals and grow over the next year.

Wisdom - Jesus grew in wisdom. What are you reading? What classes are you taking? Whether you are learning a new language, taking a finance management course, or intentionally keeping up to date with current events for your job, being intentional about growth in this area is vital. What are some ways that you can set goals for growth in this area?

Stature - Jesus grew in stature. At the time of his life when this was written, Jesus was around 12 years old. He obviously had some growing to do physically. What goals can you set for yourself this year in the physical arena? Make it measurable and let it stretch you. Maybe it is finally your year to do a 5K run; maybe you just want to set a precedent to walk daily, whatever it is, define it and execute it!

Favor in God - How did Jesus grow in his favor with God? He was already fully-God, so what could he do? Scripture tells us time and time again that Jesus went alone to pray. He was learning and growing in his relationship with God through prayer and the Word. Although it can be difficult to define spiritual growth (that is the job of the Holy Spirit), I think that you can establish some disciplines to help you prepare your heart and mind. What are you going to do differently this year than last? What are you going to add to or fast from that will foster spiritual growth; how are you going to serve others in new ways; or how are you going to find ways to daily express that the fruits of the Spirit are showing in your life?

Favor with Man - Jesus was relational. How are you growing in your marriage or as a parent? How are you allowing your friendships to deepen? Are you regularly engaged in accountability and discipleship relationships? It would be beneficial to look at ways that you can grow relationally.

I'm not a fan of taking one scripture and basing a lifestyle around it, but I think that the proof in Jesus' life can be traced back to how he grew. A lot of the growth that we will experience in our lives comes from places that we've never intended it to come from, however, we want to be good stewards of the time and resources that God has given us. When thinking through these categories, write down some realistic goals that will stretch you. You are far more likely to achieve results if you write them down. Also, make sure to share them with others. Work with a mentor or a friend to help craft your goals, and once you write them down, share them with the people closest to you who want to help and support you. This will help you stay accountable and bring others into the process to help you grow.

I hope that this can offer some help to you. Michelle and I both believe in growing and helping others grow. I'm still working on my list for this year. Keep checking back on our blog this week to see my plan.


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