Do you get excited at the beginning of each New Year? In my home, there’s a palpable sense of anticipation as our family watches the New Year’s ball drop in Times Square. When we change our calendar from December to January, I always experience a strong sense of renewal and rekindled hope as we lean into the precious promises of God.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Time is a priceless commodity. As the Apostle Paul advises:
Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity… – Ephesians 5:15-16a
This year, instead of obsessing over all of the things we want to accomplish, let’s focus our families instead on who God is calling us to be! Let’s develop holy habits that will help us to shine brightly for Christ in our families and communities. Let’s walk in ways that are aligned with God’s purposes, as revealed through His Word.
What does God want us to spend our days thinking about?
How does God want us to express our faith and values to others?
Where does God want us to focus our time, energy, and attention each day?
No matter who we are or what we do, there are certain principles that God wants us to live by:
- God wants us to walk by faith, not by sight. Instead of focusing on the external circumstances of life and allowing our problems to overwhelm us, He wants us to shift our thoughts away from the things of this world and onto the promises of God.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20
- God wants us grow in spiritual maturity – to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit – and to exhibit spiritual fruit in our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23
- God calls us to live in community – to bear one another’s burdens – to encourage one another – to sharpen each other like iron.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25
- God wants us to love one another as He has loved us. In each and every aspect of our lives, He calls us to live and love like Jesus. The holiest habit we can cultivate in the upcoming year is to be a more loving person – not just with those who are easy to love – but especially with the more prickly souls among us.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. – John 13:34-35
Cultivating new habits is challenging. Experts now say it takes anywhere from 66 days to 8 months to make new habits stick (not 21 days!) and life changes based solely on sheer human willpower rarely last. However, when we see things from God’s perspective – when we align our vision with His – we can unleash God’s power in our lives. We can begin to pray with power and conviction because we know we are praying God’s will.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
The New Year is a season of new beginnings. Now is the time to identify, establish, and prioritize the people, activities, and ministries our families will focus on in the months to come.
As families, let’s re-affirm our commitment to serve God:
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15
As parents, let’s re-affirm our commitment to raise godly children who know and love the Lord:
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
As individuals, let’s re-affirm our commitment to live in the light and be a source of light in a dark and dying world:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
To encourage our daughters to share their creative gifts with the world, Faithgirlz author and award-winning recording-artist, Natalie Grant has written Glimmer and Shine: 365 Devotions to Inspire. This delightful book challenges and inspires girls ages 8 and up to be their best selves through daily devotions filled with Bible verses, thought-provoking readings, prayers and interactive weekend pages that include quizzes, coloring pages and more!
Glimmer and Shine helps young girls to grow in their faith, develop confidence and trust God, even when they may not know where He is leading. These are certainly holy habits worth cultivating!
* * *
What habits do you feel the Lord calling you to cultivate in the New Year? How do you feel God wants to shine His light through you?