3 Ways to Stay Close to Jesus in the New Year

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Published: Jan 13, 2023
3 Ways to Stay Close to Jesus in the New Year

Stay close to Jesus. This resolution is a good one to keep for the rest of your life. 

We're a few weeks into the new year, and those exciting new resolutions are starting to fizzle out because they were most likely unrealistic, so today, I want to share with you the best resolution you could ever make. Stay close to Jesus. This resolution is a good one to keep for the rest of your life. 

If you're wondering how to stay close to Jesus, I will share three methods that have transformed my life:

1. Study Your Bible

Before you close out this tab because this idea overwhelms you, let me encourage you to read a few more lines. Studying God's Word is essential to knowing Him. God reveals who He is and what He loves in the Bible. Without the Bible, we would only be guessing at who God is and His will for our lives. Many people do guess. I used to. I remember it well.

My friends and I would discuss ongoing situations in our lives, and I distinctly remember us saying, "I think God would be okay with that," or "God would not be okay with that." Looking back, I laugh at how foolish we were and how much time we wasted making guesses about what would please God.

About a decade ago, I had a lot of questions for God, and rarely did I receive any answers until I was on my knees crying to God, saying, I don't understand how to do this life as a Christian. God responded, "The answers are in my Word." 

I crumpled at His response, although I was excited to hear from God! I explained to God that I didn't enjoy reading my Bible and asked if there was any other way to find the answers. He repeated His response, "The answers are in my Word."

I resigned and said, "Okay God, if the answers are in Your Word will you please help me understand it, because most of the time I'm clueless as to what I'm reading." Spoiler alert, He did help me understand and continues to do so to this day!

With the help of the Holy Spirit, God continues to reveal Himself to me through His powerful life-giving Word. Studying the Bible is not just something "good Christians" do; it is a way to commune with Him and build our faith.

If you want to stay close to Jesus from this year on, ask God to help you study your Bible. Ask Him to teach you His ways, and I promise He will.

2. Daily Surrender

Daily surrender of your will helps you stay close to Jesus. Even if we study our Bible every day, the power of God in our lives will be minimal to non-existent if we don't practice daily surrender.

I have learned that to apply God's Word, I must first surrender my desires. Surrender isn't as scary as it sounds. I used to be terrified to surrender my desires because I thought it meant I'd never get to do anything I enjoyed. A lot of Christians or even non-believers have that fear. We forget to factor in that God is trustworthy and has what's best for us in mind, even if others may not.

We tend to relate to God the same way we relate to other people, and humans tend to let other humans down. But God is not human; He is perfect and more trustworthy than anyone you've ever met. What God says is always true. Remembering that God's Word is true is more difficult if you aren't reading it every day, which is why adding Bible reading to your daily schedule is highly effective.

"'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. 'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" - Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT. Knowing this passage and applying this are two very different things. To apply it requires trust; trust requires surrender.

If you still need to pick up on it, the two methods I've shared go hand in hand. We can't sincerely surrender to a God we don't know. That's why it was so difficult for me to surrender to Him a decade ago. But as my hunger grew to know Him better, I learned of His many characteristics and that He was the only One worthy of my trust.

It's impossible to stay close to Jesus without the practice of surrender because as long as we are clinging to what we think is best for us, we won't experience what God says is best for us. Imagine our way and God's way as two giant mountains. If we are clinging to our own mountain, we won't have enough hands to hold onto God's mountain.

3. Pray Over Every Task in Your Day

Pray over every task in your day. Invite God into everything you do. It's simple, comforting, and reduces stress. You may currently start each morning with prayer; that's great! Let me challenge you to take breaks between each task and pray again. Are you looking for some examples? Great, I've got those for you. 

Every morning I pray as soon as I'm conscience. These prayers usually consist of thanksgiving and affirmations about who God is and why I can relax and cast out my concerns. These prayers happen before I even lay eyes on my children. I pray for my children, thank God for them, and ask Him to help me interact with them in His love, grace, and mercy.

Next, I take the kids to school, and we pray during our car ride. We take turns praying for the day that God has given us. After they leave my car, I start praying again, thank God for safe travels, and start going over the agenda for the day. I share with Him the things I believe I'm responsible for on that day and end the prayer in surrender, asking God to guide me in each step by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Hopefully, you're starting to get the picture. I pray before and during my exercise, online ministry activities, doing the dishes, and making and eating lunch. I pray before I teach singing lessons, pray again when I'm done, and ask God to continue leading me to the next step. I thank Him for the work He allows me to do with and through me.

Inviting God into each day's action also helps keep my priorities in check. To know that the God of the universe is doing my day with me is a great comfort and encouragement. We can do everything God calls us to do because He gives us everything we need to accomplish them, including Himself!

None of these methods are given to overwhelm you but to empower and encourage you! You are not alone! And your steps have been preordained by God Himself!

If, like me, you desire to stay close to Jesus this year, stay in His Word, the Bible, and abide with Him. This world is not for God, which is why it's so crucial that we make Bible study a part of our daily lives. God's Word helps us stay tethered to His ways. If we don't make time for God, we will be swept away by the enemy.

If we can't surrender our will to God, then we'll never experience His power. Surrender is not a concept that can be ignored; it is a constant theme from Genesis to Revelation. To live a life that pleases God, we must trust and obey Him, which requires courage. Our faith is not passive. It takes work. Any hero of the Bible can tell you that. But it's worth it.

The best news is we don't have to do any of this hard work alone; God will do it with us! Stay in step with Him through prayer, minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. He wants you to talk to Him, and He wants to respond.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/pcess609

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.