We all want this year to be better than last — even if last year was a great year. How does that happen?
Not by having better circumstances. (They always go up and down.)
Not by keeping one of the typical New Year’s resolutions. (They don’t deal with personal character and besides, they fizzle out by February.)
Not by making no New Year’s resolutions. (It’s a good and necessary thing for all of us to resolve to be and do better, as long we’re inspired by God’s wisdom and relying on his strength.)
Not by following the typical Christian advice (which end up being a lot like most New Year’s resolutions that start with enthusiasm and quickly fade): “Three Steps to a Blessed Life” or “Five Biblical Principles to Help You Succeed.” Not only does this approach falter it’s of the wrong spirit. True life in Christ is so much larger than using God to make our life turn out more like we want it to.
The Way to a Better Year
“I am devoted to you,” David proclaimed to the Lord (Psalm 86:2). That is the one and only way to enjoy a better year this year than last. I’m talking about becoming a better person, about being transformed to be more like Jesus.
Imagine waking up each day and stepping into the kingdom of the heavens. (It’s not just a far off and way later — it’s wherever Christ is King.) That is the life of beauty, goodness, and adventure that God has for you and I!
I have found that beginning my day with a prayer of dedication to the Lord is the right start to remind me that I am not living from the visible world, but God’s kingdom, invisible and yet more real and glorious than anything I’ve ever seen with my eyes. Then continually, as often as I can remember, I offer up prayers inspired by a fragment from a Psalm or other Scripture.
A Prayer of Consecration for a Better You
Offering a prayer of consecration is powerful. Look into the lives of the great saints and you’ll find that they used special prayers of consecration. Certainly the Bible is full of them from Paul, David, and others. Try this prayer of dedication to start your morning with God:
Good morning Father! Thank you for this day of life you’ve given me. Jesus, be my Lord and Teacher today in all things. You mean everything to me — what a blessing that I am the disciple you love!
O God, whatever happens today, however people treat me, whether or not I succeed in the things I do I will rejoice because I am with you being formed by the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus, more at peace and more loving to the people near me.
Father, Son, and Spirit I am in you and you are in me! Think with my thoughts. Stir in my heart. Look with my eyes. Speak with my mouth. Love with my hands.
All I want today is to glorify and serve you, my Lord. So I abandon to you the outcomes of this day, trusting that you are good and you are working good in my life — even when it doesn’t feel like it. In Jesus’ name I pray and live. Amen.
This is a prayer to offer from our hearts. It’s an attitude to live by. Why? To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ! To be devoted to God! When we abandon ourselves to God we find that we couldn’t be happier, we couldn’t have a better life — not matter what our circumstances are at the moment.
Is your life devoted to Christ? I think it is or you wouldn’t be reading this! How can we help you to better follow the Good Shepherd in the New Year? Let us know. Soul Shepherding is for you and your ministry.