“Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God….” (1 Chronicles 22:19 ESV)
Tomorrow is the first day of another new year. In recent weeks, I’ve been mulling over my activities of this year, wondering whether or not I made the most of the time I had. In hindsight, I know I squandered a lot of opportunities. If I had specific goals at the start of 2015, I don’t remember them, which all but guaranteed my failure to accomplish them.
Next year, I feel compelled to make a series of resolutions in seven areas of my life. I want to end 2016 knowing I’m different in measurable ways than I was when I began the year. I want to be able to state definitively how I’ve changed. Without a plan, I know I’ll fail. It’s happened before. So, over the next seven weeks, I plan to explore those seven areas and record a few concrete ideas here which I hope will help me succeed.
In the book of 1 Chronicles, David, the best-known and most loved king of ancient Israel, developed a big dream. He wanted to build an amazing temple for God. When the nation was formed, God instructed his people to build a tabernacle, a beautiful, ornate, tent-like structure which could be broken down and moved as the people moved. In the center of that structure was the Holy of Holies, a space where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, where God’s presence resided when the people stopped.
Once the nation of Israel settled into the Promised Land, the people built cities and a palace for their king. David, realizing he had a palace and God only had a tent, resolved to build a temple for God. But God said, “You are not the man to build my temple. Your son, Solomon, will build it.” So, David gave huge quantities of gold and silver toward the future construction. He commissioned artists and architects and he called the leaders and the people of the nation to give generously and support Solomon’s work.
Before David instructed the craftsmen, leaders and people to help Solomon build the temple, he told them to perform one preparatory act. He told them make resolutions, to examine their hearts, to focus their minds, to commit their wholehearted devotion to the Lord, their God. He said, “Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” Without resolve, they would fail. Without setting their minds and hearts on what was most important, they would fail. That fact is as true for me now as it was for David.
What are my goals for 2016? They are, by priority, (1) to be a more devoted follower of Jesus Christ, (2) to grow into a man of integrity, (3) to be a loving husband, (4) to be a challenging father, (5) to be a faithful friend, (6) to serve sacrificially, and (7) if God permits, to be a humble teacher who handles the Bible well. To remind me of each goal, I’m choosing an appropriate verse of Scripture, which I plan to memorize this year, too.
Will I succeed in my goals? They’re ambitious for me. Only God knows what’ll happen, but I believe my chance for success is greater, if I set my mind and heart on him.