The Bible teaches us it is wise to have vision (Proverbs 29:18). Every new year I love to sit down for a bit, reflect on the previous year and then think through what some personal goals for the new year.

As Christians, we are to be continually changing as God increasingly works to form us into the likeness of our Lord Jesus. This is the doctrine of sanctification. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another."

How have you changed in the last year? There are three options. Either you have changed a lot, very little, or just stayed the same. Sometimes change can come in large quantities and very suddenly. Other times change is slow and very subtle. Or change can just not happen and we can become stagnant.

How do you know how you have changed and how you need to be changed in this next year? Here are some good self-evaluative tools.

1. Reflect

Take some special time to be alone by yourself and reflect. Think back to your life at this time last year. Remember how things were with your job or school, the relationships you were spending time in and the spiritual lessons you had been or were learning. Think about your current character and life and where you need to grow and would like God to work in you.

2. Ask

Spend some one on one time with people you respect who know you well and ask them what they see in you. Have someone tell you what they have seen in you in the last year and what they see you need for the upcoming year. Be humble and teachable and ask some others to speak into your life.

3. Goals

See how you have accomplished the goals you set for last year and set new goals for this year. Change takes determination and if you don't plan for God to change you it is most likely not going to happen. Think through at least three or more things you’d like to do, accomplish or see change in your life.

4. Write

This can be one of the most helpful tools. If you journal, go back and read some of the entries from this time last year and see what your own personal thoughts were and how God has either worked in those areas or where He needs to. Write down a personal list that you put in your phone or on a piece of paper where you’ll see it regularly prompting you to pray over your goals.

Without having a personal vision for your life in 2017 you’ll likely flounder and fumble your way through the year. So get some vision and go after it. Things may not work out the way we want them to or think they will (Proverbs 16:9), but usually, that provides an opportunity for us to grow in the very ways we are asking God to change us in.

If we’re living for God following Jesus, we have the guarantee that no matter what it will be a good year (Romans 8:28). May our Great God and Savior bless you this year as He works in you to make you the person you long to be and that He has designed you to be.

Pastor Duane