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A few weeks ago, our small group leader challenged us with this fill-in-the-blank statement…

In 2016, I want to matter for God ________________________.

He then gave us a few minutes to talk with our spouse about how we’re going to matter for God in the new year.

Chris and I chuckled because this was something we’d already been talking about for months. We’d already been planning and preparing and praying over how we want to have influence in the places God has positioned us when the fresh slate of 2016 wakes at the stroke of midnight, January 1.

Chris wants to matter in his job. In his dealings with vendors, reps, bosses, and peers, he wants to make wise decisions and give positive feedback and gently correct all while standing firm on his convictions and faith.

I want to matter as an author and speaker. Through my written and spoken words I want to lead others to the One who rescued me and welcomed me into relationship, freedom, and wholeness in Him.

We want to matter in our marriage. We want to love each other better and serve one another more sacrificially. We want to encourage each other and challenge one another in our faith and daily life. Having a marriage that honors God, proves that it’s possible to move past failures, takes the road less traveled, and doesn’t give up come hell or high water matters to us.

We want to matter in our parenting. Raising kids who see people not color or economic status or handicaps or ethnicity or religion or sexuality matters to us. Showing our kids how to love beyond standards and reach beyond that which divides, how to respect and honor, and teach and guide those in their places, matters. We want to teach them to work hard, to fight for the underdog, to stand alone in what’s right when need be. We want to live our lives from the overflow of being in Jesus so that they know and see what relationship with God looks like. This is how we want to parent. These are the things that matter to us because it’s the way Jesus lived His life. It’s what He modeled. It’s what He commanded.

We want to matter in our church. We have three kids of our own, but God has blessed us with heaps more through Student Ministry and we don’t take this responsibility lightly. In their lives and the lives of their parents, we want to matter. We didn’t say “yes” to Sunday morning, Sunday or Wednesday night scheduled times; we said “yes” to becoming a part of the entirety of their lives. Investing and discipling, encouraging and correcting, laughing and crying, serving and goofing off is our “yes.” It’s what matters.

Yes, we want to matter. And, yes, we want to have great influence on all those whom God places in our lives but nothing we do or want to do will matter apart from God. We can do everything well; we can do it with excellence. We can be known and remembered and quoted and looked up to, but if God isn’t the center from where it all flows, in the end, it all fades away.

So, will 2016 matter? It will, if…

1. We get to know Jesus more each day than we did the day before. It matters that we be intentional to cultivate deep relationship with Him. It matters that we study the Scriptures equipping ourselves, being disciplined, and learning how Jesus loved and served. It matters that we be centered and rooted in Him.

2. We do our best to live in such a way that points others straight to the One who desires to redeem and set free. Jesus didn’t save us so that we’d live in a bubble of Christianity. He saved us so that we’d live fierce and brave, compassionate and kingdom focused. Jesus saved us with others in mind and our mindset has to be to lead those in our places to Him.

3. We live an open-handed yes life. We’ve planned, prepared, and prayed but we don’t know all that’s to come in the new year so we’re going to be flexible and prayerful still, and when the Spirit prompts, with hands open, we’re going to say yes.

We want to matter for God in 2016, but we want God to matter to us more. That’s the only way 2016 will matter eternally.

 

Resources to help your relationship with God deepen and matter in 2016:

Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Diving Deeper into Quiet Time

Scripture Memorization: Implant. Embrace. Enact.

Dive Deeper: Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion

Check out our FREEBIES page for a number of other resources that will help you in 2016.