Hello 2023!! The New Year symbolizes a fresh start and new opportunities. It is an exciting time of welcoming change and expectantly making resolutions and plans for how we are going to best utilize our time in the coming year. But the most important resolution we can make for ourselves relates to our spiritual growth. Do you desire to prioritize God more in 2023? Did you know that it is actually God's desire for us that we grow in our knowledge of Him? 2 Peter 3:18 says, "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." Here are 4 practical tips with profound impact to put Him first and grow in you faith in the new year!
1. Be in the Word.
The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to us. If we want to know Him better, reading His Word is the best place to start. So, consecrate a time each day to spend with the Lord and immerse yourself in the Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten your understanding of Scripture so that you may know God better and grow closer to Him. Find a Bible study plan to follow along or get involved in a study with friends or your church for added accountability! Taking notes while you study Scripture is a great way to ensure that the truth of the Word really penetrates your heart. Bible journaling is a helpful way to keep all your notes in one place. Journaling Bibles such as our "God is Within Her ESV Journaling Bible" and our "The Holy Bible ESV Journaling Bible" are great options to consider. They feature beautiful, hand-painted covers and spacious margins for note-taking!
2. Be intentional about prayer.
Prayer is the means through which we talk to God and open ourselves up to hear from Him. Through prayer, we can praise God for who He is, thank Him for what He has done, and make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:6). One of the best ways to be more intentional about our prayer life is to keep a daily prayer journal. This not only helps us cultivate spiritual discipline, but encourages our hearts. It is so fulfilling to write prayers and requests down and then be able to go back later and mark that prayer as "answered" and that request as "fulfilled". There are journals designed specifically for this purpose, like our "In Everything" Prayer Journal. This is a physical, tangible demonstration of the faithfulness of God that we can see and recall in difficult times. Keeping a record of your prayers is a wonderful way to invest in your spiritual growth!
3. Be committed to worship.
Now when we talk about worship, what comes to your mind? We typically associate it with music and singing at church on a Sunday morning, right? But believe me friend, it is so much more! Worship is the fundamental purpose for which we were created. Worship is a posture of the heart, and it is one of surrender. Our every word, thought, and deed can be presented as an offering of worship to God. The qualifier is the motivation our hearts. Paul wrote to the Roman church in Romans 12:1, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship." Being a living sacrifice means surrendering every part of ourselves—mind, body, and spirit —to God to worship Him as He deserves. When we change our perspectives to view our very lives as a worship offering, we begin to live our lives on the altar, truly becoming the "living sacrifices" that we are called to be.
4. Be active in your church.
As human beings, we were designed to be in community. From Eden to Eternity, God's design that we live in community with others and Himself is abundantly clear. The Body of Christ is a gift that God gave to us, His people, so that we might grow in Him together. Thus, one of the best things we can do to invest in our spiritual development is to get involved in a church. This means more than simply attending service to check it off of our spiritual to-do list. It means being an active member of the Body of Christ. The Biblical model of the Church puts Christ at the head, with every individual member having a unique function and serving a unique purpose (Ephesians 4:4). When we are active in the Body of Christ, we experience the love, unity, instruction, edification, and accountability that Christian community offers. Through consistent attendance and active involvement in our local churches, we can be plugged into different ministry areas, Bible studies, and service opportunities which all serve to grow us in our walk with God.
We hope that these tips will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord this year! Praying blessings over your life and cheering you on,
Madilyn Dowell and your Fruit of the Vine Family.