A sermon I gave yesterday at Agape Chinese Baptist Church.
New Year’s resolutions
A New Year feels like a fresh start. We have a whole year ahead of us, not yet spoilt by mistakes or our old ways of doing things. Of course, Chinese New Year isn’t until February 7th, so you have a little longer to make up New Year’s resolutions.
Making New Year’s resolutions is part of our thinking that a New Year is a new start. New Year’s Resolutions are commonly about changing bad habits. Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are famous for not lasting the whole year. We make a resolution to exercise every day from now on. And maybe we do okay for a couple of weeks while we’re not at work. But then life gets on top of us and we decide it won’t hurt to not exercise just tonight. The next day it’s the same, and suddenly your resolution is no good.
It’s also common to make resolutions about our Christian life. Perhaps we make a resolution to pray every day or to read the Bible every day. I know only a few people who manage to keep such a resolution. I struggle constantly.
The real purpose of such a resolution is the desire to grow spiritually. Spiritual growth is a difficult but wonderful thing. It’s the process of becoming more like Christ. It happens as we grow in our understanding and experience of God and begin to reflect Christ’s love more and more in the way we live.
God has been convicting me about spiritual growth lately and that’s why I want to talk to you about it this morning. I speak as a beginner, not an expert. I want to share the things I’m learning about spiritual growth in the hope that they can help you too. Maybe together we can know God in a deeper and better way in the year to come.
Activities that open us to God and his work are called ‘spiritual disciplines’. Spiritual disciplines help us replace old destructive habits of thought with new life-giving habits. I am going to talk about three spiritual disciplines to do with the Scriptures. They are meditating on Scripture, memorising Scripture and studying Scripture. These three different ways of reading the Bible help open us to God. They enable us to hear his Word. (more…)