I love New Year’s Day. January 1 serves as a reminder of how we are given the opportunity by God to begin again, to start over. If I am going to start over, I want to start with a stronger foundation by answering the question:
“How can I strengthen my relationship with God this year?”
I use several sets of Daily readings including the Bible. January 1 for the Bible always begins with God creating the world in Genesis, with the genealogy and background of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew and with Psalm 1.
Psalm one gets straight to the point when it comes to my relationship with God. Every day, I make choices. Will the choices be good or not so good?
(Psalm 1) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm One provides a promise and a warning all centered around one central question:
“Do you delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night?”
Building a strong foundation is important.
John Wesley also believed in a strong foundation and spent many hours in prayer and meditation. Wesley frequently used questions to challenge himself and others. Here are a few questions attributed to Wesley designed to guide our daily walk with God.
- Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I’m a better person than I really am?
- Do I laugh at the mistakes of others, reveling in their errors and misfortunes?
- Do I insist on having my own way?
- Is there a tendency for me to put others down so that I’ll be thought of more highly?
- Do I pass on to others what is told to me in confidence?
- Am I thoughtful in expressing “thanks” to people for what they’ve done for me, no matter how insignificant it seems?
- Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
- Am I self-conscious, self-pitying or self-justifying?
- Did the Bible live in me yesterday?
- Did I disobey God in anything yesterday?
- Did I insist on doing something about which my conscience was uneasy?
- Did I handle discouragement well or did I have to be coddled?
- Am I enjoying prayer?
- When did I last speak to someone about Christ?
- Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize or hold resentment toward? If so, what am I doing about it?
- Is Christ real to me?
How did you do? If it helps, I didn’t do so well either. We all fall short when it comes to truthfully answering questions like these. What’s important is not to become discouraged.
A better question you should ask is: “How can I improve?”
How will you strengthen your foundation this year?
Psalm One makes it abundantly clear. How you answer this question for 2012 could mean the difference between being a tree with strong roots to resist the storms of life or chaff easily blown away by any passing breeze.
When you make your resolutions this year for 2012 make resolution number one: Work on strengthening your relationship with God.