I watched some of the New Years Eve events on the major networks. The celebrations are filled with so much optimism as the calendar turns to 2013. The problems, struggles and challenges that existed in 2012 and long before travel with us into the new calendar. Although we believe we have the ability to see a greater potential for change simply because we cross over into a new year. I have heard it said that "the key to a fulfilling life is to have more new beginnings than endings” I am not sure who said that but it certainly sounds good! Even within the most pessimistic mind the human condition allows hope to spring forth in believing that a new day can bring something better. It's what keeps us going. What is more amazing is that hope exists at all among those who do not claim Jesus Christ as their Lord. I believe that since we are created in the image of God we are given the gift of hope and new beginnings. God created new beginnings. Scripture is full of God's pattern of always offering hope despite the sin and suffering we practice and endure in this world. Even as Adam and Eve sinned he covered their nakedness and promised redemption. When Abraham vacillated between faith and foolishness he learned how God refuses to abandon His plans for mankind despite our willingness to follow. Despite being confined to prison cells both Joseph and the apostle Paul realized that God's work in and through us is not bound by anything man can ever create. Is it expressed any better than by a discouraged prophet named Jeremiah, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentation 3:22-23 With that in mind enter the new year with a few practical reminders:
- Your past and your present do not determine your future. God loves and forgives. Receive his forgiveness and “go and sin no more”. John 8:11 You can be free and confident in Christ. You are worthy to serve Christ because you have been transformed into a new creation through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- God does not measure life in days, weeks and years. Numbers don’t determine success. Our bank accounts, degrees, size of our business or churches have no regard with God. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 Judge yourself based upon those three qualities and be careful of measuring your growth by human driven spiritual equations.
- Follow God not man. We are people on mission. Those who follow Jesus Christ are called to live according to a different set of priorities. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 If we live by the Spirit God will direct us. If we fear man or live according to our insecurities we become people pleasers.
Happy New Year!