Happy New Year! Can you believe we made it to 2023? I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the possibilities that come along with a new year.
I have many exciting things in the works that I can’t wait to share with you. It’ll be a couple of more weeks before I’m ready to announce these new things. So in the meantime, I’m going to spend the month of January talking about ways we can make the best of this year.
Today, in episode 168, I am talking about priorities. I will share three Bible passages to help you live out your priorities in the new year.
Do you set goals at the beginning of the year? I usually set goals that will provide a framework for things I want to accomplish in the year. But for the last couple of years, I’ve focused more on setting quarterly goals. I’ve found that focusing on goals one quarter at a time dramatically increases the chances that I’ll actually achieve them.
Another change I’ve made in my goal-setting process is that I figure out my priorities for the quarter, then set goals around those priorities. I discovered that some of my goals were random things I wanted or thought I had to do, but in reality, they weren’t a priority for me.
So, since I’ve started focusing on priorities first, I’ve set more meaningful and achievable goals.
One priority I have every year is to continue growing in my relationship with God. I don’t think we will ever reach the fullness of our relationship with Him while we’re on earth. So, I think it’s important to find ways to deepen and grow that relationship.
One thing I’ve done in the past to learn more about God through His Word is writing out passages of scripture. I’ve shared on here before that I create monthly scripture writing plans. 2023 will mark the seventh year I’ve done these plans.
While I’ve created these for the last six years, I’ve not always used the plans myself. I’m adding scripture writing to my morning quiet time routine to learn what God has to say about certain topics for Christian living.
It probably won’t surprise you that the topic for January is priorities. And as a side note, even though it’s January 4th when this goes live, it’s not too late to download the plan and catch up. I’ll put the link in the show notes so you can grab a copy of the plan if you are interested.
Since we’re talking about priorities when setting goals, I thought it would be helpful to share three scripture passages on the January plan to encourage you as you try to live out your priorities this year. These passages give us insight into what God sees as important as we live out our faith.
So let’s jump in and see what the Bible says about our priorities.
Three Passages for Living Out Our Priorities
The first is Micah 6:6-8.
“‘With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Wow! I don’t know a better passage of scripture to provide a guide for how we are to live as believers. This passage shows that God desires our obedience rather than physical sacrifices, although our obedience may require sacrifice.
Let’s focus on verse 8 of the passage. There are three actions that should be priorities for us as believers. We must do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
What does it mean to do justice? Other translations say to act justly or do what is right. We are doing justice when we do the right thing in the moment. To love kindness is self-explanatory. Kindness is in short supply these days, so it’s typically noticed when we show kindness to others. Being kind gives us a chance to show God’s love in action.
Then to walk humbly with God means surrendering our lives to him daily. We follow him because he knows what is best for us.
I teach a girls’ missions class at my church. We say this verse every week. I hope that it is imprinted on the hearts of these girls and that they will continue to follow God as they grow older.
Another passage that shows other priorities we are to have is Philippians 4:6-8.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 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.”
Reading through this passage, I see at least two priorities for us as believers. One is to pray about everything. Prayer helps to alleviate our anxiety or worry. But we don’t just pray to feel better or get our way. We pray with thanksgiving for what God has already done in our lives and what he will do for us regarding what we’re praying for.
Another priority I see is to set our minds on things that are excellent and worthy of praise in God’s eyes. To be able to do this, we’ll have to eliminate some of the world’s distractions. For me, that means limiting phone use, being cautious about what TV shows and movies I watch, and focusing on who God says I am instead of comparing myself to others on social media.
In addition to scripture writing, I will keep a prayer journal this year. I’ve journaled for several years now. But typically, I’m just writing about my day. Sometimes I’ll write about things that concern me or how God has been at work in my life. I just feel drawn to journaling my prayers this year. I’ll still have a prayer list where I can record specific prayer needs and answers to those prayers. I think journaling my prayers will help me to focus on what’s most important.
The third passage I want to share is Hebrews 10:23-25.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I love how this passage connects to what we read in Micah 6:8. We need a community of believers to encourage us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. One of our priorities should be to find a community that can encourage us and allows us to encourage others.
This is a priority for my husband and me this year. Before the pandemic began, we were active members of a Sunday school group in our church. I participated in online Sunday school for a few weeks when everything shut down. But since then, we’ve only been back in person one time. It’s really been an odd situation for us. I never thought I’d be one who would not be a part of a Sunday school class. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the people in our class. We just felt disconnected in some way.
So it’s time for us to find our community of other couples in our stage of life we can encourage and be encouraged by. Several other couples are in the same situation, so hopefully, we can get a group of us together soon to form a new class or community group.
If you are looking for a community to plug into where you can learn more about how to live out your faith, I invite you to join my new Live It Out Community. I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can check it out.
I want to live out God’s priorities for my life in the new year. Do you? I hope these verses encourage you to dig into God’s Word and see what priorities He may have for you in 2023.