The start of another year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and plan for the year ahead. Looking back, 2021 was another challenging year in terms of COVID. Looking forward through 2022, we hope for better physical health.
The new year is also an opportunity to reflect on spiritual health – our own individual spiritual health and the health of our congregations. Our vision as a denomination is of ‘A Healthy Gospel Church for Every Community in Scotland’. Throughout 2022 we will be promoting that vision more and talking together about how we might grow in health.
Healthy individuals are growing in their relationship with God, getting to know him more, loving him more deeply, being transformed day by day by the Holy Spirit into the likeness of his Son. Healthy congregations have a clear focus on God’s word, are engaged in worship and prayer, are active in mission, are seeing people come to faith, are intentional about discipleship, and are characterised by healthy friendships and leadership.
You might have visited a doctor in 2021 and been given a physical health check. What would a spiritual health check reveal at the start of 2022? Sometimes we feel like we are going backwards rather than forwards, sometimes we feel we are not doing very well spiritually. Just as physical health often requires intentional exercise, so too spiritual health requires intentional discipline and a decision to keep moving forward.
The apostle Paul wrote: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me . . . forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:12-14). The writer of Hebrews tells us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And [to] run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb 12:1).
What would it mean for you to grow in spiritual health in 2022? What would it look like for your congregation to become a little healthier? Start a conversation and choose to be intentional about spiritual health in the year ahead.