The New Year always brings with it the opportunity to evaluate the past year and to set goals for the coming year. We want to avoid discouragement and complacency while striving to be all that God wants us to be. Here is a helpful list of spiritual goals compiled from the NT writings of the Apostle Paul:
10) Pleasing Christ in everything – It all starts with making pleasing Christ my #1 priority; you can’t be a man-pleaser or a friend of the world and accomplish this. “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Cor. 5:9); “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10).
9) Love is the capstone of the Christian virtues and the sum of the commandments in how we need to relate to God and to one another – “Pursue love” (1 Cor. 14:1); “But the goal of our instruction is love” (1 Tim. 1:5); “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4)
8) Fellowship in striving together for the furtherance of the gospel in the scope of worldwide missions – “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27); “Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you” (2 Thess. 3:1).
7) Glorifying Christ and Worshiping Him from a heart of thanksgiving and praise – “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17); “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord” (Phil. 3:1).
6) Evangelism – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.” (Rom. 10:1) Maybe you have some relatives or close friends where this will be the year that God rescues them from their sins. “and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephes. 6:19-20).
5) Anticipation of Christ’s soon return and preparation via Holy Living – “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:13-14); “so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (1 Thess. 3:13).
4) Edifying the Church via Spiritual Gifts – “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.” (1 Cor. 14:12); “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1); “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Rom. 14:19).
3) Discipling believers to bring them to maturity into the image of Christ – “And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ.” (Col. 1:28); “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephes. 4:15-16).
2) Prayer for the appropriation of all of God’s abounding resources – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” (Ephes. 1:18-19); “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Col. 4:2).
1) Knowing Christ more intimately – Classic passage for the New Year is Philippians 3:7-14 “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings… forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”