Before we know it, 2024 will be here—and the beginning of the year is a great time for a fresh start in your life and in your ministry. It’s when we try new diets, new budgets, and (often) new ministry plans. While there is nothing magical about the first few days of a calendar year, it can be a logical time to try something new.
If you’re already eyeing a change in 2024, don’t overlook the most important place to start: All change starts in your mind.
Your thoughts direct your life. “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23 TEV). Every action and reaction in your life begins as a thought. If you don’t think it, it won’t happen.
You can use this idea for both good and for bad. Good thoughts lead to good behavior. But the opposite is true, as well: Bad thoughts lead to bad behavior. We don’t realize how often we sabotage ourselves with our own thoughts.
That means anything you’re hoping to change about your life in 2024—whether in your ministry, your family, or somewhere else—starts in your thoughts.
Your struggles in 2023 were in your mind. “I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me . . . that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin” (Romans 7:22-23 TLB).
You have a battle raging in your brain. Every struggle you felt this year was centered in your mind. You may not be surprised that internal struggles—depression, fear, anxiety, etc.—are rooted in your brain. But even external ones, such as conflicts in your family or in your church, start in your mind. James 4:1 tells us interpersonal conflict comes from “the selfish desires that war within you” (NCV).
Whether those battles take place inside or outside of your body, they take a toll on you. Sometimes you’re conscious of the toll, but many times you’re not. This conflict steals your sleep. It weighs on your emotions and your soul. But you rarely notice it.
You can’t have your best 2024 if you’re spending all your energy on silent but deadly mental battles.
Your mind is where God’s spirit is at work in you. “If your thinking is controlled by your sinful self, there is spiritual death. But if your thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace” (Romans 8:6 ERV).
Most of the time we describe the Spirit’s work as taking place in the heart, which is usually how the Bible describes his work, as well. But the heart is just a symbol for your brain because that’s where you think.
If you’re planning to make important changes in your life in 2024, you need to understand how change in your mind—in your thinking—happens. When God suggests an idea to you, it’s called inspiration. When Satan does, it’s a temptation. Whether you accept an inspiration or reject a temptation, it’s your choice. You choose what ideas you hold on to and which ones you reject.
2024 could be the most important year of your life. It may be the year that changes your family and your ministry forever.
But if that change is going to happen, it’ll start in your mind.