“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14 (NIV)
Join me this morning as I ponder over the point of a New Year. I’d imagine that the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is setting those New Year’s goals. Things like losing weight, quitting smoking and being a better person. They’re called resolutions. I guess because we are supposed to be resolute about keeping them.
Well, I don’t worry about resolutions. I gave up on those long ago. Never could keep them, no matter how well intended or noble the dream. I discovered that for me, time would be better spent asking God what He wanted me to do rather than me telling Him, what I thought I should do.
With resolutions off the plate, I pondered over to the New Year itself. I am not sure how to put this without seeming pessimistic or unpatriotic, but what is the big deal about a New Year? What is really new about it anyway? My debt is the same, my bank balance is the same, my problems haven’t changed and I even have the same cold I had on December 31. Yet, there is something, dare I say, hopeful about starting back at January once again
I believe many of us think about a new year in terms as a clean, blank slate, a time to start over or start again. There is nothing wrong with that. But if that is all January 1 means, then I’m in trouble already and can we get to January 1, 2011 sooner rather than later?
Well, perhaps starting a new year is like Paul says, leaving behind that which was, in favor of striving with greater passion for that which is most important in our lives – Jesus Christ. And since, I’ve already blown a few things, I am glad that I can start that “pressing on toward the goal” even if I stumble getting out of the gate.
Now most people would call this “out with the old and in with the new.” Would you think less of me, if I disagreed on that point for today?
You see, we often think new is better. Truthfully, sometimes it is. However nearly everything in our material world is geared so new equals: slicker, quicker and better. In fact, I’d wager you saw a report or two in the past few weeks telling you what the latest, greatest and hottest items were for Christmas – which by the way was only about 10 days ago.
For the faith-minded of us, perhaps we’ve put off that pressing forward until we have that new Bible or Bible software. Maybe some of us are waiting for a new revelation from the Lord to jump start our 2010 spiritual walk. Could it be a new answer to an old question that would spur us in motion? Would a new church, pastor or program help? Hmmm.
Yesterday, our pastor verbalized his 2010 New Year wish for our church with his morning message. It was simply for each of us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love the powerful simplicity of that wish and it also affirmed something God placed on my heart a few days ago. Out with the new and in with the old!
My dear friends, God’s grace is one of the oldest things on earth. It dates back to the beginning of time and creation. There is nothing new about His grace. It’s not a guarded secret. It has the power to revolutionize lives and grow new hearts. As it was from the beginning, this old, old grace is available to anyone willing to receive it.
You think you need something new? Try the old and timeless grace of God as found in His Son, Jesus Christ – who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. What are you waiting for? There is no better time than now to receive the old to make you feel new!
Blessings for the New Year – let’s all grow in grace together!