As God’s children, it should give us great joy to live with the eager expectation that He is weaving together all of the days He gives us for our good (Romans 8:28) and His glory (Psalm 8:1)! He provides His “divine set-up” replete with blessings, trials, and opportunities for each of us to seek first His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). This will be a year of explosive, unprecedented personal and corporate Christian growth. God will do His part! Our part is to get our eyes off ourselves and onto Jesus, and to make the advancement of His eternal, heavenly kingdom on earth our singular ambition!
Below are 19 habits to infuse into each day throughout 2019. As you practice these with the Lord’s help, may they become a permanent part of who you are in Christ! And may you delight to see ALL that God will accomplish through you as you surrender your all to Him.
1) Pursue an ever-deepening intimacy with the Lord as you pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Talk to Him throughout each day and not just during times set aside for prayer. Make every effort to grow in your ability to know and hear His voice (John 10:27) as clearly as you recognize the voice of your best friend and your constant companion (Hebrews 13:5).
2) Read the Bible daily (2 Timothy 3:16). Verse by verse, chapter by chapter, knowing God’s Word is the first and best step to knowing God. (John 1:14). Ask God to illuminate key attributes of His character as you read, with the goal of knowing HIM (Ephesians 1:17).
3) Live empowered by the Holy Spirit. Ask for divine wisdom to solve confronting problems at home, work, or church (James 1:5). Ask for dreams and visions so that you can know God’s game plan (Joel 2:28). Ask God to instruct you by night as you sleep (Psalm 16:7).
4) Live repentant (Matthew 4:17). As the LORD reveals places in your heart, mind, and life that need to come into agreement with His ways, be quick to agree with Him through repentance (Matthew 5:6), receive His forgiveness, and thank Him that the power of Jesus’ blood has permanently erased the repented sin (1 John 1:7) and given you the strength you need to put away that sin for good (Hebrews 2:14).
5) Eagerly Anticipate God’s goodness. While it’s important to remember lessons learned, it’s time to leave your past in the past. Guilt, shame, and the enemy will work hard to remind you of your sinful past and cause you to hang your head (Job 10:15). Remind yourself that you are free indeed (John 8:36). Thank God that the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:13). Ask Him to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18) and on His promise that the best is yet to come, living with eager anticipation of what lies ahead (Psalm 3:3; Ephesians 3:20)!
6) Change your focus. In a culture where self is the #1 idol, be others-focused. Get to know a stranger (Hebrews 13:2). Serve others with your hands, feet, and gifts (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Peter 4:10; Matthew 5:16). As you co-labor with the LORD to reach, teach, lead and minister to others in Christ, you will see more fruit than you could have imagined!
7) Change your vantage point. As you get caught up in all the mire, evil, and despair in the earthly realm, ask the Lord to take you to His higher place, seated in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) where He rules and reigns from Zion (Psalm 110:2; Psalm 113:5-6). Set your heart on things above (Colossians 3:2). Go to the higher place in the heavenlies with the LORD and ask Him to show you what He is accomplishing as He presses forward into the fullness of His victory over sin and Satan (Romans 16:20; Revelation 1:8). From the higher vantage point, ask the Lord how you are to pray, think, speak, and act.
8) Change your perspective. Consider all things in light of eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Today will be yesterday and tomorrow will be today sooner than we can imagine (Psalm 90:12). Live each day with an eternal perspective and not just for today or for the next earthly goal. Eternity is forever. Let’s build eternity with the Lord!
9) Change your mind. As a man thinks, so he is and does (Proverbs 23:7; Luke 5:22). Scripture tells us that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and that we are to occupy our thoughts with things that are noble, right, and pure (Philippians 4:8). If you find yourself angry, offended, jealous, or downcast, it’s time to have a different thought! Think about praising the Lord with beauty and joy (Isaiah 61:3)! As you develop the habit of agreeing with God about all things, your heart and mind will be fertile ground into which He can confidently steward His power and authority.
10) Make peace in your heart with someone who has hurt, wronged, offended, neglected or otherwise treated you badly (2 Thessalonians 3:16). Ask Christ the forgiver in you to help you be willing to forgive as you have been forgiven (Matthew 6:15).
11) Make peace in person with that someone you have closed the door on (Romans 12:18; Matthew 7:8). Take Jesus with you and extend His love regardless of your personal ability to love the unlovable (Matthew 5:44).
12) Be God’s agent of unity. Where there has been disagreement and separation due to real or perceived differences, stand in the gap with the power of God’s love and be His Ambassador of Reconciliation, helping to reconcile people to one another and to Him (John 17:22; 2 Corinthians 5:20). Rise above political strife. Be set apart unto the LORD and separated from sin as you infuse His chesed love into the great divides in the world.
13) Use your ears more than your mouth (Matthew 11:15). Listen for God’s voice more than you ask Him to do things for YOU. Then do as He says (Matthew 7:21). Listen to others to understand where their hearts are with life and with the LORD.
14) Set a guard over your mouth (Psalm 141:3). Avoid gossip and idle chatter (Proverbs 20:19; Romans 1:29). Let no negative speech leave your lips (2 Corinthians 12:20; James 3:5-10), thereby giving the power of agreement to the enemy (Matthew 18:19). Use your words only as God directs to build up others’ identity in Christ and to build God’s kingdom (John 12:49)!
15) Show honor to everyone, even to those you don’t believe deserve it. Wives respect your husbands; husbands love your wives (Ephesians 5:33). Honor your parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3). Honor the authorities set over you (Romans 13:1-2). And remember to honor yourself because Christ lives in you (Colossians 1:27)! Honor God always (Romans 1:21)!
16) Live genuinely thankful. Thank God for Jesus, for His love, for air, food, shelter, and every single blessing (Psalm 7:17; Psalm 106:1)! Thank others for who they are and for every way they honor the LORD and the people He puts in their path, including you (Psalm 103:2)!
17) Take good care of your temple. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Give Him a blameless place–body, soul, and spirit to live (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You can only co-labor with the LORD to help bring about His Kingdom on earth while your boots are on the ground. Feed your body good nutrition. Don’t be a slave to your tastebuds (Romans 6:6 &17). Ask for God’s power to stay free from excess food and other substances that don’t honor your temple (John 8:36). Use your bodies to serve Him and others (Romans 12:1). Get sufficient physical rest (Mark 4:27).
18) Exercise BOLD faith motivated by LOVE. Pray BIG PRAYERS with kingdom motives (John 15:7). Trust God, period (Proverbs 3:5)! Ask for all of your inheritance – the nations (Psalm 2:8)! Release kingdom-building decrees as the Lord directs (Job 22:28). Release the power of God’s peace wherever there is conflict (James 3:18; Philippians 4:7). Share the Good News BOLDLY and with urgency so that none will spend eternity separated from the God who loves them (Galatians 3:8). Trust God to glorify Himself through signs, wonders, and healing as you minister to the lost and the hurting (Acts 4:30). He wants to be intimately known as the God of power!
19) Live to expand God’s Kingdom. As you prioritize how you spend your time, talents, and treasures, make kingdom-building your first priority and not what you squeeze into or out of an insanely over-extended lifestyle (Matthew 6:33). This will be your easiest assignment if you incorporate all the other principles and seek to only do as the Father directs (Matthew 7:21).
Consider building these 19 habits throughout 2019. Keep a short list of them nearby and ask God to empower you to hold Him and them in your heart. As you look back at the close of this new year, may you hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant (Luke 19:17)! As My disciple, you have born much fruit (John 15:8)! You have been faithful with what I have given you. I will entrust you with even more (Luke 16:10)!” May God’s kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven in and through each of us in 2019 (Matthew 6:10)!