“What are your goals for 2019?”
Once Christmas is around the corner, this question starts coming once again. We often feel hopeful as we look to the new year. We want change. To develop deeper relationships, healthier habits, new skills. But what’s often at the center of our resolutions? Us.
We can lose sight of Christ as we decide what we want to do to bring our change.
Instead, we can think a little differently. We can look to where God has placed us and our responsibilities to lead in these areas. We can ask what God might desire for our 2019.
What about the God-given responsibility of your group? Here’s four Gospel-centered resolutions to keep your group centered on conforming to the character of Christ well into 2019 and beyond.
Repent of our sins
“The present, the gift, is for all the people. The Savior from sins is for all the people; the Messiah-King is for all the people. Repent of your sin and believe in Jesus, who died for sins and rose from the dead that you may have life. “See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:2).” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 5).
Confession and repentance. They are core to Christianity, but are they always core to our churches and groups? It feels better to talk about how we “messed up” without going to the base level and calling the things that are sin sin. We can even simply focus on “discussing challenging topics” and “celebrating together,” both of which are good. Yet, in 2019, let’s add in a regular rhythm: confession and repentance. It might be seeking out a group member to hold each other more accountable one-on-one. It might mean gathering as a group and spend time in prayer, repenting before the Lord. No matter what it tangibly looks like in your group, let’s regularly repent.
Remember His promises
“All these promises and more are fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus is not only the promised eternal King; Jesus is the evidence that God keeps every one of His promises, both now and forever.” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 5).
Sometimes, we can become frustrated when it seems like God isn’t answering our prayers — not in the way we want or in the timing we hoped. But what’s the bigger picture? Jesus is the fulfillment of so many of the promises of the Lord, and we can rest in that. In 2019, let’s refocus our groups on finding Christ in all of Scripture instead of finding our anger at the way we wish things were. Let’s not just know that the Lord is good and faithful to help us, but let’s find specific verses that remind us of specific promises. Let’s consider memorizing these veres as we keep our groups centered on the faithful promises of our Lord.
Remove our focus from success
“This is the radical reversal, the “upside-down-ness” of the kingdom that the church easily forgets. Every time she has pursued worldly power, forsaking worldly weakness, the church has parted company with Jesus. God is not magnified in that way. He is magnified by the pierced soul of His people, emulating the pierced hands and feet of their Savior. God is glorified when the church treasures Christ above all else and lives with meekness, even if that leads to suffering.” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 5)
Often, we like to focus on the ways we can “succeed” each new year. But, where do we find success as the focus in the Gospel? Money, power, fame, pleasure. None of this is to be treasured above all else. Achieving this is not biblical success. Instead, obeying the Lord, being a faithful witness, seeking to bear each other’s burdens, being ambassadors of reconciliation — this is success. In 2019, let’s shift our focus in our groups from how we can be “a more successful group” in terms of what the world values. Instead, let’s try to focus on obedience, on prayer, on supporting each other, on treasuring Christ and magnifying Him above all else, even when that leads to the opposite of success and even suffering.
Recognize His fullness
“God presents His gift, the Son. And this Son answers the question, He solves the problem of their gloom—He will save His people from their sins. Their lack of justice and righteousness will be made up in His fullness.” (Gospel Foundations, Volume 5)
We often feel empty. Why can’t I seem to be as productive as I want? Why do I get so angry at my kids? Why do I slide into that temptation, again and again? We are fallen humans who live in a sin-stained world, and we can be frustrated as, during our group discussion about our failures and the failures of the world around us, we just seem to see emptiness. In 2019, let’s flip this focus. Instead of being pain and incompleteness, let’s look to Christ in our groups. Let’s continually point out how He brings fullness even when we’re empty. We fail each other. Christ never fails. We see so much division. Christ is about reconciliation and redemption. We’re empty. He’s the fullness this world needs.
The Gospel? It’s the foundation to our Group. This week, we’ve been exploring for more Gospel insights to guide you in finishing out this year as we head towards 2019.
But your journey with the Gospel can go far beyond these posts. We have an entire Bible-study line that walks you through the storyline of Scripture to point you to the Gospel. It reveals how Jesus is the hero from beginning to end. Sound too good to be true? Try it. Find a free download of study PDF and video content here.