There is a spiritual truth I learned long ago that I’ve never forgotten. Our bodies tend to age and slowly break down after we’ve hit our peak in early adulthood.
I promise you I’m not sharing this to depress you, but we’re all slowly coasting toward the deaths of our physical bodies… bear with me…
It’s just a fact of life that our bodies weren’t made to last forever. We should certainly work to take care of them and keep them in the best shape we can (an area I plan, yet again, to re-focus on this year), but eventually, the natural processes of life will take over.
Our spiritual growth and maturity is just starting during this earthly life. When it comes to who we are in our relationship with God, we get to go onward and upward and grow indefinitely in spiritual and intellectual maturity forever.
For anyone who follows Jesus and receives God’s free gift of eternal life through the redemption offered by Jesus on the cross, life is merely the waiting room and the warm up exercise for all that lies ahead of us in heaven.
And that’s why, regardless of your age or stage of life, each next year can actually be your best year ever!
As you learn to build on what you know and apply more wisdom to your life, you can accomplish more than you’d ever previously dreamed of doing because of this slow process of spiritual growth.
But how? What kind of footing do we need to be on in order to soar?
1. Know your priority
No, not priorities. Your priority. Singular.
Having multiple priorities is a modern, western idea we’ve forced on the ancient concept of a priori, which means the one most important thing.
Getting your priorities in order is stressful. It’s a lot.
Marriage. Kids. Faith. Work. Other work. Hobbies. Health. Finances. Intellectual development. Charity.
How do you rank all of those priorities? I was taught the formula, God > Family > Church > Work > Everything Else.
But here’s the flaw… we start to see ourselves like a pie being divided up, and everybody wants a piece and there isn’t quite enough to go around.
A few years ago, I made a decision to live for one priority. For one thing – the Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Each and every day, I wake up with a single priority – to do in each moment what King Jesus directs and desires, and nothing more.
This way of living is based on Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (NKJV)
Obviously, following Jesus well means loving my wife and kids, working hard, and taking care of the people around me, including myself. But instead of having the stress of determining whom I must disappoint today, I have only the priority of whom to please – King Jesus.
2. Seize some moments
In the movie, Yes Man!, Jim Carrey gives us a comical picture of the kind of mess we create when we decide to say “yes” to literally every single opportunity that comes along.
Obviously, we need to say “no” to plenty of things. Peter Drucker referred to this practice as planned abandonment – purposely neglecting some things that just don’t deserve anymore time, energy, or resources.
At the same time, life is never static. Everything is always changing, and we need to know how to adapt and change with it by embracing the right opportunities as they come along.
I once said yes to an opportunity to go work under an amazing pastor at one of the nation’s leading churches, and it changed everything.
My wife and I said yes to God’s calling on our lives to plant Grace Hills Church, which has changed us forever.
A year or two later, I said yes to a publisher who asked me to write a book, and the process was extremely educational and rewarding.
A mentor of mine asked me to join him in coaching pastors and leaders in the trenches. I said yes and have formed some amazing friendships as a result.
Our family said yes to working in Belize, sponsoring a child, and visiting Belize City for the gospel’s sake, and it’s deepened and changed us dramatically.
Don’t say yes to everything. Be selective, in fact, and let God’s purposes and the Kingship of Jesus be your guide. But do say yes to some right opportunities.
It isn’t about being perfect. It isn’t about performing without flaws or never making mistakes. It’s about progress.
Jesus gave us a great pattern to follow in Luke 2:52, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (NLT)
In that short verse, Jesus – at age twelve nonetheless – challenged us by example to grow in four areas.
In wisdom – by reading and studying and being mentored and gaining knowledge. So in the next year, I’ll read books, take courses, and get coached and mentored.
In physical health – by eating better, moving more, and sleeping on schedule.
In spiritual maturity – by developing a more consistent quiet time, prayer life, and Bible reading time.
In leadership ability – by striving to love and to influence more people, for more good.
Know your priority.
Seize some right opportunities.
And with that pattern, every passing year can be your best year ever!