Resolutions can sometimes help, though just making a New Year’s resolution is likely to last about as long as your Christmas decorations. Goals are great. I make yearly goals. Goals help direct your attention and energy in specific directions. But even goals can conflict with each other and lose their power. Perhaps an even better question is, What’s your One Thing for 2022?
Having even a small number of goals can be confusing if you’re not clear about which is Number 1. An athlete can’t win an Olympic gold medal and be the most social friend in the same season. Many parents or spouses discover that their devotion to career advancement came at the expense of their family. You might be fairly successful in more than one area, but when there’s a conflict which one wins out?
Focusing first on your one thing clarifies so much. It tells you what to say Yes to and what to say No to. (And you will have to say No to some things.) It provides emotional fuel when things get difficult. (And any worthy one thing will experience difficulties.)
The Bible supports this perspective, and suggests a lot about what your one thing should be. That seems a great place to start in considering your priority for 2022.
One Thing in the Bible
A question Jesus loved to ask is, What do you want? Getting to the root of our desires can be both a sobering and empowering journey. You may discover that much of your time and energy has been directed toward things that are not in line with what you truly need and want most.
In the Old Testament David got very clear about his one thing. He was a king, a warrior, a musician, a father, and more. He struggled mightily with sin. But when it came down to it, there was one thing at the core of his heart. “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).
In the New Testament, Jesus’ friends wrestled with the same things. Martha worked hard to prepare for and serve Jesus well, and became frustrated when her sister Mary devoted her attention to Jesus Himself. “But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her”” (Luke 10:41-42).
These passages and others seem to suggest the very best one thing for 2022 that you could possibly choose:
Being in the Presence of God
Nothing in Scripture indicates this means you don’t go to work, make love to your spouse, serve at church, pay bills, make food, or connect with your friends. Those are absolutely vital parts of the life God has for us. But when it comes to priorities, “One thing is necessary.”
Making God’s presence the one thing for you might mean turning off the TV at night so you can get up earlier to begin of your day with God. It might mean choosing friends who help nourish your desire to be in God’s presence. It might mean a weekend retreat alone with God or attending a conference where entering God’s presence is the priority.
You can’t remain the same after spending time in God’s presence. He changes things. He changes you. In His presence is healing, satisfaction, cleansing, enlightenment, joy, peace, hope. Whether or not your outward circumstances change, you will be changed. Sometimes that change comes in a moment. More often it comes through absorbing His presence, as a plant grows through taking in the sunlight.
One Thing in Action
When you become clear on your one thing and stay with it over time the results can’t be ignored. The person who devotes themselves to getting good with money becomes a millionaire. The athlete wins a gold medal. The musician plays in Carnegie Hall. The addict lives clean and sober. Those are not bad things.
But when your first one thing is being in the presence of God, the results are truly remarkable. Saul who became Paul made his one thing to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10). Everything else became less important. All his worldly accomplishments paled in comparison to knowing Christ.
And that worked itself out in Paul’s mindset, decisions, and daily actions. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
I heard one Bible teacher surmise that Paul’s one thing was a necessity because he had persecuted the church before he met Jesus. Paul could not have become the missionary to the Gentiles without forgetting his past and focusing on what lies ahead. It’s likely that every single day for the rest of his life Paul had to choose to forget his past and focus on the mission God had for him.
In that sense, the way your one thing plays out in your mindset, decisions, and daily actions might be displayed slightly differently from someone else. As you become transformed, as you become the person God intended you to be, through daily being in God’s presence, what mindset will you develop? What daily actions will you take? I believe the mindset and daily actions are less something you decide than they are an outcome of the time you spend in God’s presence. Making the decision to be in God’s presence results in all the other things.
So, what will be your one thing for 2022? If you make your one thing being in God’s presence, you won’t go wrong.
Your Turn: What’s your one thing for 2022? Will you consider making that being in God’s presence? What will that look like for you? Leave a comment below.
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