Do you have a New Year’s resolution to spend more time reading your Bible? Maybe you have a goal to do a Bible study with others, spend more time in prayer, find a church home, or increase giving. In whatever way the Holy Spirit is leading you, here are 4 simple ways to grow your faith in the New Year…
- Make small changes.
- Step out of your comfort zone.
- Use God’s Word.
- Pray about everything.
Apply 4 Simple Ways to Grow Your Faith in the New Year
Below are common grow-your-faith goals. Listed under each goal are practical tips for applying the 4 ways to grow your faith listed above. Be encouraged and excited about what God wants to teach and guide you through in 2023!
Goal 1: “I want to read the entire Bible!”
Maybe you have a goal to read the Bible in its entirety in 2023. This is a great goal, but it can also be overwhelming. Then, when February rolls around, and you’ve skipped a few days of your reading plan, you can feel defeated.
- Tip: Make a small change. Increase your time in God’s Word by 10 to 15 minutes.
Rather than having a New Year’s resolution of reading the entire Bible (especially if you haven’t been reading), start the new year with plans to read for a certain amount of time or increase it. If you spend time reading the Bible each day, increase that time by 10 or 15 minutes. If you aren’t in the habit of reading, start with 10 to 15 minutes. That way, you will feel successful and be able to continue with your goals.
- Tip: Step out of your comfort zone. Simply start, even if you don’t understand the passage or verse.
Often, people will stop reading the Bible when they get to a passage that is confusing or hard to understand. Or they never start because it’s too overwhelming. God knows how you feel and wants to partner with you to dive deeper into your study.
Rather than giving up, reread the passage before or continue to read the following passage. Many times, the verses or chapters before or after the passage will begin to explain it, helping you make more sense of what you just read. And if you are still confused, the next tip will help. If you are new to Bible reading, we recommend starting with one of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
- Tip: Use God’s Word. As you read, take notes.
Have a pen and journal with you as you read the Word. Often, a verse or specific words seem to “jump off the page.” Write them down, look them up, reference a Bible commentary such as the J.B. Phillips commentary series, and ask God how He wants to apply that Word to your life. Don’t get caught up in how to take notes. Simply write down what God highlights during your devotional time and any insights you gleaned from your commentary resources.
- Tip: Pray about everything. As you read God’s Word, ask Him to reveal His heart behind the passage.
Whether you are reading Leviticus, Psalms, or one of the gospel accounts, God wants to reveal His heart to you through His Word. Ask His Spirit to pause you in your study on words or passages He wants you to notice. Ask Him to show you His character through the passage. Talking with God—praying—as you read His Word is a powerful way to grow your faith in the new year.
Goal 2: “I want to find a church home or start a Bible study with others.”
Finding a church home is a critical component of growing your faith. God calls us to assemble together. We aren’t intended to walk our faith journey alone because God knows that the enemy can mess with our minds, especially when we are alone.
Being in a cross-minded and Bible-focused biblical community grows your faith, increasing your trust in God and confidence in who He is shaping you to become.
- Tip: Make a small change. Make a commitment to engage in one activity or event.
There are a number of ways to fellowship and study God’s Word together. Perhaps in-person is how you want to engage and participate with others. Or maybe in-person doesn’t work with your schedule this season, and watching an online service or attending an online study is all you can do. Commit to one activity or event.
Make 2023 the year to grow. In whatever way you choose to engage, ask God to grow from there. If you decide to watch a sermon online, invite others to join you in the next few weeks. If you choose an in-person event, look for ways to get connected and join a Bible study in the weeks to come.
- Tip: Step out of your comfort zone. Check out opportunities to engage with others.
Start by checking out a church’s website. Look at their statement of faith, service times, and resources and groups available. Check out various opportunities to engage with others to grow your faith in the new year.
- Tip: Use God’s Word. His Word reminds us of the importance of coming together.
The Bible is full of verses about the importance of meeting together. Coming together builds us up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), invites the presence of God (Matthew 18:20), gives us protection and wisdom (Hebrews 10:24-25), is “good and pleasant” (Psalm 133:1), and sharpens us (Proverbs 27:17).
- Tip: Pray about everything. Ask God to guide your steps.
As you look for a church home or begin a Bible study, pause and ask God to guide you as you move forward. Pray and proclaim that you trust Him, know He is faithful and true, and desires to see you grow your faith in the new year.
Goal 3: “I want to serve and give to others.”
Having a goal of serving for an entire year in some capacity or giving large amounts when you haven’t been can quickly burn you out or cause you stress.
- Tip: Make a small change. Serve in one additional way or give a one-time donation.
Instead, make a small change. Find serving opportunities such as making a meal for someone, reaching out to pray with someone, or simply meeting and buying someone a cup of coffee. The beauty of serving as Christ served is looking for ways to encourage those He brings into our lives, whether family members, co-workers, or neighbors. There are always small ways to serve.
Likewise, the same applies to giving. Perhaps you’ve been giving and want to take part in a bigger project. Or maybe giving isn’t something you’ve been doing, and you want to start with giving just a few dollars. The Bible is clear; it isn’t about how much you give. It’s about the heart behind the giving.
- Tip: Step out of your comfort zone. Expect to be stretched a bit.
With both serving and giving, know that God wants to grow your faith as you practice trust. Whether you have never served or served for years, God wants to stretch you, so you depend on Him more. Perhaps He is calling you to serve in more or different ways. Or maybe He is calling you to give generously and freely.
Serving and giving are to be done with a heart of worship, realizing that all you have is given to you by the one who has it all. Let God stretch you and grow your faith in the new year as you step out of your comfort zone.
- Tip: Use God’s Word. Study passages about serving and giving.
Serving and giving fulfills the Great Commission. They also reflect the irresistible love of Jesus. Jesus commanded us to love others as He loved us, giving to others as He gave and letting His light shine through us. When you study passages about the love of Jesus, they also involve serving and giving. This is because God’s love gives and serves. And when we are full of His love, we supernaturally do the same.
- Tip: Pray about everything. God wants to guide your service and giving.
Ask God to guide how, when, where, and how much you serve and give. He wants to be a part of all you do. And when you seek first His kingdom through serving and giving, He will direct your steps.
Let the Holy Spirit and God’s Word Guide You as You Grow Your Faith in the New Year!
Remember, the Holy Spirit wants to guide and teach you as you enter this new season and new year. If you start to feel frustrated when your goals to grow your faith in the new year seems to wane, it is not about perfection. Remember, there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus (Romans 8:1). Your goals to grow your faith in the new year are about the one who is perfect—Jesus Christ—working out who you are in Him.
You are a new creation, and He will bring to completion what He started in you.
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ….”—Philippians 1:6
Every day is an opportunity to lean into Jesus and experience more of who God is and discover more of who you are becoming in Him. Find out more here.