Do you plan to grow as a disciple of Jesus next year? I always take some time out, at the beginning of each year, to plan in what I sense need to be my priorities for the year ahead. If the time I need to do that wasn’t already in my diary it wouldn’t happen. The reality is, as the saying goes, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

As followers of Jesus Christ we all recognise the truth of Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. To what extent do you plan to practice ensuring this is your reality throughout 2023? Indeed, some of you may well be thinking this is too much akin to wishful thinking and a few too many steps removed from your reality to become a credible expectation. Again, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

I want to encourage you, throughout 2023, to plan to engage with the Discipleship Cycle. You can make use of the DC App, or work with a paper Bible, pen and paper, whichever you prefer. The mechanism is nowhere near as vital as the process God invites you into, which is fundamentally about God’s purposes being fulfilled through your life. [1]

This is precisely what’s reflected in the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem:

How silently, how silently

The wondrous Gift is given

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of His heaven

No ear may hear His coming

But in this world of sin

Where meek souls will receive Him still

The dear Christ enters in

I’m not claiming five minutes a day is in any way sufficient to cultivate your growth as a follower of Jesus, but I do believe without a few moments, when you capture and take personal responsibility for:

both what God has spoken into your life

and acting on whatever that is,

will actually make a crucial difference to how your life looks by the end of the year.

Throughout 2023 you will still be able to access any Bible passage by entering the book and chapter reference into the “choose a verse” as normal.

However, the passages you will see presented Monday-Friday will take you on a walk with Jesus through the year. They’ll be a chronological harmonisation of the four gospels. Saturday-Sunday will focus on the Psalms.


[1] Take note when  Isa 55:11 highlights my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it – the primary means by which both the ‘desire’ and ‘purpose’ of God is worked out is through the individual lives of his people.

Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.