4 personal growth areas for 2019

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” — Luke 2:52

For many years I have made it a habit to spend the last week of the year in prayer, meditation and Scripture study. I call it my annual study break. It’s also a time to evaluate how I am living my life. I want to be intentional about how I live. It’s so easy to let the urgent and the maintenance stuff of life fill up my days. I want to know that I have focused on the important.

I have developed a tool for setting annual goals and for self-evaluation that I call my “Luke 2:52 Goals.” Reading a description of how Jesus grew in Luke 2:52 motivatied me to want to grow in those same areas.

Notice that Jesus grew in four areas. He grew in wisdom, stature, in favor with God and in favor with men. Under each of these four categories I list several items where I believe God wants me to focus or where I want to grow for personal reasons. I try not to list too many things. I keep the total list small enough so that it fits on a single page. I usually post it in my office and home study, so that I can see it every day. This year, I’m posting it for you to see, so I guess I’ll really have to try and do it now!

Here are some of my personal goals for 2019:

1. Mentally (wisdom): Read 3 books a month, one for sermon prep, one for leadership and one for pleasure. Get back to blogging regularly, at least twice a month. Play guitar at least 30 minutes every day. Plan for more margin by taking a weekly sabbath, regular vacation time and retreat time to recharge mentally.

2. Physically (stature): Aim at maintaining a regular sleeping/rising habit of 11 PM/7AM. Lose 20 pounds by following a lo-carb diet. Workout for one hour three days a week (M, W, F). Start each morning walking with Robin. Stay proactive about seeing a doc for physical problems. Get a flu shot.

3. Spiritually (favor with God): Read the One Year Bible and make daily comments to fb/twitter. Have a daily quiet time. Set aside every Wednesday for study of God’s Word and sermon preparation. Plan and keep quarterly and annual retreats with God. Pray with Robin every evening.

4. Socially (favor with men): Friday night is date night with Robin. Schedule annual family vacation with all our kids and grandkids. Schedule annual grandparent trip with “potty-trained” kids. Disciple three men in Life On Life this year. Reach out to local pastors to pray for our city together. Meet with like-minded pastors for peer-learning and encouragement.

I know that it is God’s job to cause me to grow more like Jesus. The gospel means that we don’t have to work to earn God’s favor. So, I’m depending on the Lord for these goals. He is the One who will accomplish them in me. But I think it’s important to cooperate. I want to yield to the Spirit’s work.

I want to grow more like Jesus. Don’t you?

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