Scholar’s Compass: Starting with the Kingdom in Mind

new year photoToday, we’re happy to welcome Alexis Grant in her first post for Scholar’s Compass, our devotional for academics. For more of Scholar’s Compass, explore our archives here. To read more of Alexis Grant’s work, visit her personal blog, Wonders of His Word


You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).


In our professional lives we are taught to “start with the end in mind.” So at the beginning of a new project, we create our timeline and assign tasks to members of our team with ideal deadlines. Before we’ve written a word, we identify our goals, our audience, and the ideal outcome. At every professional development conference, we are reminded to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented) goals. Planning is key to success.

So every time the new year comes around, we reflect on our progress over the past year and evaluate our goals for the year ahead.

I ask myself where I imagine myself being a year from now. A year from now, I will be exercising regularly three times a week. I will know my research topic and who will be on my dissertation committee. I will have at least two manuscripts completed and submitted for publication.

As I typed down my top goals for the next year, I realized that the first three things I could think of are all things I want for myself. Even my spiritual goals are about myself. Last year, one of my goals was to read the bible regularly. It is not a bad goal since it is good for my growth, but it still is only about me.

Our default nature is to be self-centered, and every year, I find that most (if not all) of my goals are about me. It is our sin nature. By default, our plans and desires for our lives are void of the Kingdom.

It is ironic in some sense. We emphasize starting with the end in mind in our studies and projects but tend to do the opposite in our spiritual life. Jesus tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to [us] as well.”

So if we seek first the kingdom as the end in mind, what might our new year’s resolutions look like? There are so many scriptures about the people we are to become as followers of Jesus.

The end that God has for us is this:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

This is just a piece of what the end is. God’s plan for us is that the peace of Christ will rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15), that we would serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), that we would go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). His kingdom advancing looks like this and so much more.

In the next year, how will you plan with this end in mind? My challenge for you is to be kingdom-minded in your new year resolutions and 2019 goal-making activities.


  1. What are your top three goals for 2019 about and what do these goals show about your priorities?
  2. What scripture or passage gives you a clear image of God’s kingdom working in your life?
  3. How can you advance towards the kingdom come in the next year?


Oh Lord, as we start this new year, let us seek Your kingdom. Guide us in Your ways, and let us serve and love others as You do. Amen.

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Alexis Grant

Alexis Grant is a PhD graduate student in Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the process of community-based participatory research, community health decision-making processes of non-profit leaders, and implementation of community-based health interventions. In her free time, she enjoys singing, writing worship songs, and going on adventures.

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