Sorry to say this but there will be no book recommendation today due to New Years. BUT I’ve got something better for you. Since most of you are thinking through goals for 2013, I want to share mine. It’s the same each year, but each year I try and pursue it from a different angle.
Since I have been a Christian, my resolution every new year has been the same. You may say that I am boring to do so, but let me explain. As December ends and January roles around I find one desire growing in me: to know God better this year than last. I want to be able to say in December 2013, that I know God better now than I did in 2012. I want to be closer to Him, I want to talk to Him more and in a more real way, I want to know His Word better, I want to feel Him more, I want to be more like Him, and most of all I want to love Him more than I did in the previous year.
How will all this be accomplished? I could make a bunch of resolutions to do it. For example I could make resolutions to read more, to pray more, to fast more, to rebuke more, to evangelize more, etc. Those are not bad resolutions, but they are all “fruit” issues. My resolution gets at the “root” issue, namely, treasuring the gospel. You see, if I treasure the gospel more this year than last, all of those things I listed will happen. If I do not treasure the gospel more this year than last, those things will likely decrease. So instead of going at specific “fruit” issues, I want more heart work being done, more “root” issues.
Where do I get this in the Bible? Titus 2:11-12, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” I will not be godly if concentrate on reading the Bible more. I will not be godly if I make it my aim to share the gospel with every person I meet. I will not become more godly if I try to “do” more things. The only way you and I will become more godly, is by reflecting on the gospel; because it is the gospel, the grace of God that has appeared, that teaches us, or instructs us to live godly in this present age.
Titus 3 also shows this. In chapter 3 Paul gloriously describes the gospel in verses 3-7. Then in verse 8 he says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” When Paul says “these things” he means the gospel that he described in verses 3-7. What is it that causes believers to carefully engage in good deeds? What is it that is good and profitable for men? The gospel! When believers treasure the gospel, good deeds flow forth in abundance.
So my resolution this year, is the same as last year, and will most likely be the same as each new year comes that God wills to bring us. I want to treasure the gospel more, so that I grow more. When I grow more, I know God more. When I know God more, I love God more! When I love God more, I am filled with infinite pleasure and delight! So really my desire this new year is for the increasing of my joy in Jesus, above all things! Join me this year in this glorious pursuit.