Do you have any goals for the new year? We’re just starting out, it’s not too late to think about 2022 and what you hope to accomplish. Will it be “business as usual” or is there a project to start and finish, a trip to make, an objective to reach? I’ve got some stuff to do around the house, a list of books to read, and some family is coming to visit this spring. 2022 is shaping up to be a busy year.
What about spiritual goals? How can you grow closer to God in 2022? He is working in His people, to grow them and shape them, conform them and transform them, to make them more like Himself. He is working in them to produce fruit and mature them for the Day of His return that is fast approaching. Are you one of His people? Where will you be found on that Day? How will you be found on that Day?
Paul had some definite ideas on how to think and act. He wrote to the Philippians in chapter 4, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” The peace of God was with them and guarding their hearts and minds. Because they had that peace, they were free to think, feel, and act in a way that honors Christ. They could focus on what is true, what is honorable, what is just, what is pure, what is lovely, what is commendable, what is excellent, and what is worthy of praise. Any one or two of these qualities would be beneficial, but all eight provide balance. Are you thinking and acting on these aspects? That’s a good goal for 2022.
This is not an individual goal, but done and lived out in community. We need brothers and sisters in Christ to help us, encourage us, rebuke us on the way, to keep us straight. And living this way is counter-cultural. The world is deceitful, dishonorable, unjust and unfair, impure, ugly, poor, and disreputable. We seek the cheap and easy “loopholes” and “get-overs.” Where can hope be found?
Aspire to something higher in 2022. This way to think and act is only through Christ, who gives you peace and guards your heart and mind. He gives you a new heart and mind – what will you do with them? Let us think and act on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise. Imagine how your life and the lives of those around you could be more positive if you think and practice these things. And the peace of God will be with you.