So how are you doing on your New Years Resolutions? By the time you receive this, you will have already had 3 or 4 days to work on them. Are you still watching what you eat? Are you still exercising? Are you still keeping up with your Bible reading and study? Are you still praying daily with your spouse? Are you turning off the television like you need to?
The first couple weeks are always the hardest when it comes to starting new habits and honoring new personal commitments. It is hard because starting work on new habits requires breaking old habits. It takes discipline, a lot of hard work, and a lot of prayer and dependence on Christ and His Spirit if we are going to see fruit; but it is certainly worth it when we find success in retraining our minds and bodies.
As we embark on this new year, I wanted to provide you with some useful questions for personal evaluation and preparation. These are from Donald S. Whitney, a dear brother in Christ who has written a great deal on biblical spirituality. Plan now to sit down and give serious, thoughtful answers to these questions.
1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
In addition to these ten questions, Whitney provides twenty-one more to help us “Consider your ways.” You could think on the entire list at once, or you could answer one question each day for a month. It would also be very beneficial to sit down with your spouse and allow these questions to spawn discussion and guide your shared goals for the future.
11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
15. Who is the person you most want to encourage this year?
16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?