UPDATE: I wrote this at the beginning of the year 2020 and I kept going back to it throughout the year realising that I needed this not just for one year but for the rest of my life. Below is the original version.
Something feels different at the beginning of a new year. 2020 starts a new decade and that gives us more of that feeling. We get an extra kick of motivation to forget the past and start over. New beginnings make us feel more optimistic, which is why I’m here writing a year 2020 growth plan and sharing it with you. I’ve also done this 2 years ago, but that was more specific towards having a victorious year, you can check it out here.
Year 2019 had been a wild ride and I can see how it was a huge milestone for me in all areas of my life. For this reason, I am super excited for what the Lord has for me in 2020. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that, really, if I want to have more, I must become more.
Jesus said it first though, thousands of years ago in Matthew 9:17. You can’t put new wine into old wineskin. You can’t have more if you have not yet become more. You will lose both the wine and the wineskin in the process. In our case today, getting thrust into something we are not prepared for, even if it’s a good thing (like hitting jackpot in the lottery – not that I bet) will break us and spill the blessings into waste.
I want to have more of what the Lord has planned for me and I understand that real change starts from within. I must become more. I have to grow. And I’m gonna share how that growth unfolds in my life in this 2020 growth plan of mine.
Before we get to writing the elaborate plan to prepare for the year 2020, I’m gonna share something that I believe will benefit you and change your perspective (if you haven’t yet) on how to start any plan. I believe that only one thing really matters. Let me illustrate that with this timeless passage in the bible found in Luke 10:38-42.
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
I could write tens of things to keep myself busy with but that’s not really what matters if I want real growth as a person who believes in Jesus and His love for her. What I’m saying is, beyond any plan I can ever come up with, the one thing I have decided to center my life around is growing through hearing the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). I strongly believe that this, not being part of the list of things to do, but is the core of any plan a Christian should have.
The bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that as we behold the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed from glory to glory. Beholding Jesus is, plain as day, seeing Him in the scripture just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus had their eyes opened to see Him all the way from the books of Moses, the prophets and in all scriptures (Luke 24:13-35).
It is with this core principle that I start my growth plan for 2020. What this means is that, it’s not so much the plan that matters but hearing of the Word of Christ and beholding Him that changes us to become more. This also means, that these plans can change, and that’s alright – there is no need to beat ourselves up for a change of plan as long as we always find our way back centered in hearing and beholding Jesus. The Lord Himself directs our paths as we focus on Him (Psalm 37:23). With that said, and sorry for that very long intro, here is my 2020 growth plan and the things I wish to focus on this year.
Relationship with Jesus, my Lord and Savior
This is the only thing that really matters and without this, the rest of my plans (listed below) will never come to pass, or they may but will never bring me complete peace and I would be left with a hole in my heart that only Jesus can fill. Some things I plan to grow in this area are:
- Seeing Jesus in the Scripture through listening to Christ-centered sermons
- Reading the bible with a revelation of Jesus and the many pictures of Him in every book of the bible
- Spending time in worship and thanksgiving for all the good things He has done and will do
- Spending time in prayer, lifting up all my worries and cares knowing that He cares for me
Relationship with myself
A good and healthy relationship with yourself is an inevitable result of having a revelation of Christ’s love for you. Some say it is selfish to love one’s self but the bible itself tells us to do so (I Thessalonians 5:15). Why? Because Christ, Himself loves you so much that you ought to love yourself. If He says you are His beloved and worth dying for on the Cross, saying otherwise is an insult and, quite frankly, a rejection of His Word. I consider the following activities to grow in this area:
- Love and nurture my body (eat healthy and stay fit)
- Do things that make me happy (go shopping, try new things)
- Let go of condemnation and guilt-filled memories
- Improve myself (read books, grow my programming skills)
Relationship with people I love
This is another direct result of a revelation of Jesus’ love for you. Loving other people is also a reflection of our love for ourselves. You can’t love others if you hate yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have. This year, I wish to cultivate my relationship with the people who matter to me, the people I love and care for. I want to love with sincerity and not for the sake of pleasing people and I don’t have the time to do so for everyone who comes into my life. It may sound a bit exclusive but I’m only one person and I neither have the time nor the energy to please everyone I know. But I plan to grow in my relationship with all who are dear to me.
- Spending quality time with the people I love
- Prioritising those who matter to me
- Investing in good and healthy friendships
It may look like a lot of things to do and they’re not easy at all either. However, back to my initial principle, it all starts with beholding Jesus and having a revelation of His love in my life that will enable me to achieve things that matter the most. I don’t even have to worry about any of the things I wrote. There is only one thing I need to focus on and the rest will come out naturally.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.Matthew 6:33 NKJV
For my closing thoughts, here’s a very popular verse. What most people I’ve met understand from this is that seeking the “Kingdom of God” is, quite literally, expanding His kingdom (i.e. going into missions, doing church stuff). However, and I learned this from Pastor Prince at church, it’s time we start asking questions. What is the kingdom of God, really? The bible actually has a very different definition, far from what most people understand.
In Romans 14:17, it says clearly “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The kingdom of God is not just going into missions or doing church stuff (these have their own places), but it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Let’s go back to Matthew 6:33 with a new understanding, where it tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God (righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit) and His righteousness…” Clearly, we are to seek this righteousness, His righteousness and everything else shall be added to us. But let’s dig down even deeper and find out what this righteousness is.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV
Here it is and this is the gospel. It’s all about Jesus’ dying on the Cross for our sins and being raised from the dead for our justification so we can stand boldly knowing that we have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. This is beholding Jesus in the scripture, and getting a revelation of His love for you, for me, for all of us. But wait, there’s more.
For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the oneRomans 5:17 NKJV
much more those who receive abundance of grace
and the gift of righteousness will reign in life
through the One, Jesus Christ.
Our righteousness in Jesus is not a result of our doing good, not a result of all the things I’ve written above in my lists and my 2020 growth plan. No, not at all. Righteousness is a gift and believing that you are fully righteous (as if you’ve never sinned before and will never in the future) because of what Jesus did on the Cross, is where it all starts and is the only way it can ever be possible for me to love myself, and to love others. With that said, I’m focusing on this one thing this year and looking forward to the results of the Lord’s work in my life.