Let These Scripture Verses Form Your New Year
We do not memorize much anymore. We store numbers in our phones and look up information online. Everything we need to know is all there in our electronic device. Or, so we think.
For centuries, Christians have memorized the Word of God so that they could hold it always in their minds. This is because the things we hold in our minds are the things that form us.
The new year is a time of resolution; a new direction for a new beginning. With that intention, here is a list of eight scripture verses that I encourage you to commit to memory in the new year. I have also provided a thought for reflection for each verse. However, the most important part is the scripture verse itself. I encourage to take it and hold it in your mind and let it form you this upcoming year.
I have divided the list into two themes with four verses in each group. The first group includes four verses regarding how we should engage the world this upcoming year. The second group includes four verses which remind us of the way God views us. These verses can serve as an antidote to lies and the hurts the world often inflicts upon us.
Engaging the World
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.” Galatians 4: 4-5
We live in “fullness of time”. We are members of the kingdom of God. What a great truth to begin with as we enter a new year. In that vein, we are called to live and act in ways which make the kingdom present here and now. How can I make the kingdom of God present in the places I live and work?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
We live in a fallen world. We are often surrounded by hurt, ugliness, and a distorted view of reality. Just look at the news for proof of that. As Christians, we cannot stand still against the forces of darkness. If we do so, the darkness will eclipse us. We must actively combat them by always holding the image of Christ before us. What kind of media and entertainment am I consuming? Does it reflect the image of Christ or the image of the fallen world?
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
We can either be passively conformed by our surroundings or we can actively participate in the transforming power of God. Christianity is a choice to swim against the current, to stand out against the crowd. Do I dare to live differently? Do I practice my faith intentionally?
“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith” 1 Peter 8-9
The Christian life requires vigilance. It is very easy to be lulled into complacency, but complacency leads to the loss of faith. Modern culture makes this clear. Most Christians who leave the faith do so without even knowing it. They simply drift until they are “too busy” to pray, go to church, or seek the kingdom of God. Am I vigilant? What do I prioritize? Are they the things of God?
The Truth of God About Me
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
This is my favorite verse in all of scripture. I just love the depth of the word abundant. Jesus came not just that we might live or be saved. God created us to flourish. The Christian life is not a life simply defined by restraint. Rather, living in the light of God is a joyful experience, even in the midst of suffering. Do I strive to live the joy God desires for me?
“Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God” 1 Peter 2: 4
No matter our circumstances, our hurts, or rejections, we are valued by God. We are precious to Him, even when others or even ourselves reject us. This is a truth that must pervade our hearts. It is must become the core of our identity. This can be a struggle for many of us, for we know our own sin. It can be hard to believe that another could love us. The truth is that God does. Do I really believe that I am precious to God?
“…who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.” Ephesians 1: 3-4
Like the verse above, this verse reminds us that we are chosen, but not just in the here and now. We were chosen before the foundation of the world. This means that from all eternity, before time even existed, God has held you in his mind. Do I understand the depths of God’s love that he has chosen me from all eternity?
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know.” Psalm 139: 13-14
You are “wonderfully made”! This is sometimes hard to remember, but you are the direct handiwork of God. God does not make mistakes. Your “very self” He knows. He knows you perfectly and you are loved. Do I recognize the handiwork of God in my very being?