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It's the New Year and that means it's time for resolutions. Of course, resolutions can be bad if you make vows you don't keep or set standards for yourself without relying on the gospel to change you and forgive you. But if done in the right way I find resolutions a helpful way to clarify priorities and goals.

Several years ago, in our pastors group, we decided to be more precise in how we want to be held accountable. So we each set off to write a series of questions.  My ten questions are below. Though they are six years old by now, I try to come back to them at the start of each year. No doubt, the questions reflect my own weaknesses, temptations, and priorities. There may be better questions for you and your friends. But perhaps these ten questions will be a good place to start.

After each question, I’ve added a sentence or two of self-evaluation (i.e., how have I been doing with these goals over the past several years).

1. Am I spending time slowly reading God's word and memorizing Scripture? Lately I’ve enjoyed tracking with the daily lectionary readings (something I’ve not done before). This has been a helpful break from the usual read through the Bible (more or less) straight through. Scripture memorization comes and goes in spurts. I’d like work on Philippians in 2016.

2. Am I having consistent, focused, extended times of prayer, including interceding for others? Yes and no. I pray for others, but getting “consistent, focused, and extended” is more difficult. I’m impressed by people who keep up to date prayer cards or a prayer list. I want to improve in this area. I wish I were more of a prayer warrior.

3. Am I disciplined in my use of technology, in particular not getting distracted by emails and blogging in the evening and on my day off? Better than I used to be, but always a challenge.

4. Am I going to bed on time? I wish it were 30 minutes earlier. But normally I get upwards of seven hours of sleep.

5. Am I eating too much? This has improved a lot (see #6).

6. Have I exercised in the last week? It was encouraging to see that I was asking myself this question several years ago, because there has been a new found discipline in this area in the last 18 months. Now I exercise almost every day. Trust me, it’s worth the time. I’m sure I get more done in less time by making exercise a priority.

7. Am I patient with my kids or am I angry with them when they disobey or behave in childish ways? You’d have to ask my kids. There are good days and bad days. I find things are harder in the winter when it’s almost always dark and the kids can’t get outside as much.

8. When at home, am I "fully present" for my wife and family or are my mind and energy elsewhere? I think my wife would say I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be. She’d probably also say I’m not doing as well as I could be.

9. Am I making sermon preparation a priority in my week or am I doing other less important things first? Not where I’d like to be. I’d like to get in some solid preparation on Tuesday/Wednesday and not leave everything for end of the week.

10. Have I done anything out of the ordinary to cherish and help my wife? Well, I have a date night planned next week for our anniversary, but there’s always room for more in this category.

I praise God that we don’t have to pass a checklist to be righteous in Christ. I also praise God that in Christ he gives us strength to pursue growth and godliness and (slowly) make progress.

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7 thoughts on “Ten Check Up Questions for the New Year”

  1. Dan says:

    Thanks for this helpful list, Kevin, and the for the encouraging, gracious self-evaluation.

    For prayer (#2), I have been strongly helped by the PrayerMate app (though I don’t want to make #3 more difficult).

    Two wonderful things about it:
    1) It had a pre-installed list of prayers through a couple of passages of Scripture, and I’ve expanded that with several verses, and I find that this has become a really rich portion of my time in prayer–praying through Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1 or through various Psalms.
    2) As a missionary with many missionary friends, I get a lot of prayer letters, and the many godly people who support us also send along their prayer requests. It’s very easy to copy and paste those into a .txt note with their name as the filename, then save that in my Dropbox folder. PrayerMate can connect to DropBox and with a few taps pull those notes into the app and add them to my prayer reminders. This sounds complicated when I write it out, but it’s really very simple.

    I’m not connected to the app in any way, but I keep telling people about it because it’s proven helpful and it’s a continual help to guide me in focused, extended, scriptural and intercessory prayer.

    Happy New Year!

  2. This list by Kevin is a reminder what a Christian Husband needs to do. But lists in my case well they are within now not on paper although they once were. From all the years of minister I have been involved in the greatest thing a preacher can do is spend their time to equip the saints for ministry out in our very dark world ie the tools of trade of being a minister of reconciliation and then go out in the world with them to discipline them while they are doing the trade ie ministering Christ to people through God the Holy Spirit. A hands on Pastor what a novel idea…….

  3. Curt Day says:

    How about resolution #11: Have I done anything to show the kind of love for the world as God would have me love the world? Here we should note that God love the people in the world and sacrificed His Son to save them. This is not the same kind of loving the world about which we are warned in I john 2. Without resolution #11, we Christians who share at least some of the above resolutions become very insular.

  4. Scott G says:

    Can you give detail about the lectionary you are using and how to obtain it? Thanks, much appreciated.

  5. Emily says:

    I second Scott G! Haven’t heard of the lectionary before.

  6. Martin says:


    It is December 31st
    I am on the patio under the stars
    with wine and cigar probing
    my choices of another year gone by

    In the coming year
    I resolve to learn more
    of everything I cannot see
    anticipating mysteries
    that will be revealed

    I resolve to bridle conflict with patience
    anger will be the servant of peace
    gratitude will quench with prayer
    discontent’s spitting tongue

    When envy beats
    like a drunken drum
    I will raise a defiant fist
    opening my palm to whatever may come

    When the violence of lust
    scratches at my blood
    and buckling legs concede this vice
    my eyes will surrender to beauty
    more stunning in the night

    In this year of humility and truth
    my knees will find a place of rest
    where anxiety is silent and the heart is calm
    I will quiet my mind with thankful song
    treasuring the blessings that surely will come

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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