Five ways to think about your 2023 goals

It’s that time of year when we begin thinking about goals for the next year. Too often, these goals are not related to our walk with God. More than simply setting “New Year’s resolutions” we might break quickly next year, I hope one or more of these goals will become part of your Christian walk in 2023.

Chuck Lawless

Tell somebody something about the goodness of God each day.
It’s never difficult to think about God’s blessings, but we usually have to intentionally decide to talk about them. Even if you’re talking with only believers, don’t let a day go by without saying something about God and His grace. You’ll find that you’re more likely to talk with non-believers if you’re already in the practice of speaking about God every day — and your obedience will bring you joy.

Pray with somebody daily.
If you’re married, pray with your spouse every day. If you’re single, be intentional to find someone to pray with. The prayers need not be long, and you’ll likely need to fit them into your busy schedule — but praying with others should be a priority in our lives. Taking this step is an admission that we need God’s presence guiding us and others walking beside us (and most of us, I fear, could use more of this prayerful humility).

Memorize at least two Scriptures per month.
I wish I didn’t view this goal as a unique one, but I recognize the struggle with this discipline. At the same time, the godliest men I know — without exception — know the Word so well that it naturally drips off their lips. Here’s a suggestion if memorization is not already your practice: choose two of your favorite chapters in the Bible and memorize them throughout the next year.

Get to know a missionary family and ministry this year.
We Southern Baptists are privileged to give through the Cooperative Program that supports thousands of missionaries on the field — but they’re too often only distant, unnamed friends to our churches. We don’t really know them, and we miss the blessing of hearing what God’s doing in their lives. Church leaders, I challenge you to correct this issue this year by connecting with missionaries through the IMB or NAMB.

Decide today, and every day that stretches ahead of you this year, that you will finish 2023 well.
I realize we’re just starting the new year, but I also know that nobody finishes a year well by accident. Faithful church leaders who endure well to the end do so because they commit to finishing each day well. Indeed, I am praying as I write that anyone who reads these words will reject the enemy’s lures over the year ahead. In God’s grace, you’re included in that prayer.

— Chuck Lawless is dean of Doctoral Studies and vice-president of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, where he also serves as professor of Evangelism and Missions.