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Becoming the Best Version of You

In today's new world disorder, there's so much that is completely beyond our ability to personally influence.

The New Year provides each of us a chance to hope and dream of a better world and nation. But in today's new world disorder, there's so much that is completely beyond our ability to personally influence. An emotionally healthy person stays centered no matter their environment. The same is true spiritually. Though the very fabric of society seems off by more than a mere stitch or two, it doesn't mean you need to let yourself unravel. 2018 can be the year when you become the best version of you. Here are some suggestions on how to make it so:

1. Set Goals in Light of the Seven Categories of Your Life:

It helps me to break my life down into seven major categories, and to set goals in each one. These categories are physical, social, financial, educational, vocational/career, recreational and spiritual. You may have heard of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound). As you zero in on these seven major categories of life, you'll find your ability to set S.M.A.R.T. goals will become easier. All of life, as a result, will improve.

Remember that the difference between a dream and a goal is a deadline. People tend to make all kinds of New Year resolutions – but they don't keep them because a resolution is not the same as a goal. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals in each of the seven categories of life and you will have a greater chance of becoming a better version of you.

2. Set G.G.E.S. Goals:

The reality is that you can set S.M.A.R.T. goals and not be very smart, eternally speaking, in the process. Each goal in the above seven categories should be God glorifying and eternally significant (G.G.E.S.). Every Christian will face what the Bible calls, "the judgment seat" of Christ. This is spoken of in Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; and 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Unlike the "great white throne" judgment for unbelievers (Revelation 20:11-15) the judgment seat of Christ is a judgment of rewards and the loss of rewards for the believer.

In speaking about the judgment seat, Paul reminds us that, "If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person's work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15, NIV).

You should set G.G.E.S. goals and live your life from the judgment seat backwards. Are the things you're pouring yourself into going to stand at the judgment seat? Make plans to adjust 2018 so that all you do will be God glorifying and eternally significant (G.G.E.S.). Someday, you'll be glad you did.

3. Don't Let Others Predict Your Failure:

One of the reasons I'm a late bloomer is because for many years I put too much stock in whether or not other folks were cheering me on. I finally realized that I was giving other people more credit (and authority) than God gave them. Make 2018 the year you stop doing that.

If you belong to Christ, he is your Advocate with your heavenly father, and is constantly pleading your case for his greatest possible glory and good (1 John 2:1). Jesus has his father's best interests in mind, and that's great news for you. When God's will and agenda are advanced in your life, you always move forward. Yes, you have an adversary, the devil (1 Peter 5:8), but he is no match for your Advocate, Jesus Christ.

If God is for you (Romans 8:31) who can be against you? The answer is no one. So, why let those whose opinions don't really matter in the eternal scheme of things influence you more than they should? Make 2018 the year that you focus on God's view of you. If you do, you'll not only please God, but also the people you should please. Stop trying to please people whose opinions don't really matter. Courage with people is always the result of clarity over who you are with God. When you only care about God's opinion, courage is inevitable.

Last week I wished you a Merry Christmas, but with the above words I hope 2018 is among your very best. In a world of cheap imitations, it will be refreshing to meet the new, improved you.

 Michael Anthony is the author of the book "A Call For Courage: Living With Power, Truth, and Love In An Age of Intolerance and Fear," a speaker and blogger (, and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pa. His opinions expressed in this piece are his own.

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