Monday, December 27, 2021

A New Year, A New Chapter

There is much history concerning celebrating "New Years," In brief, New Year's Day is observed on January 1, which is the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was used by the Roman Empire around 45 BC and is accepted today by most countries as the calendar most used. The Romans originally dedicated New Year's Day to Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings for whom the first month of the year (January) is named. New Year's Day is probably the world's most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. By Roman definition, beginnings, we can see why so many people make resolutions, that is, taking a course of action one determines or decides to do as a new beginning. Looking into New Years resolutions you would discover that on the average ninety percent of all New Years resolutions fail. Why is that? Generally speaking, Most people try to make several resolutions instead of focusing on one; People tend to set unrealistic goals; After a resolution is made, most people have no one to encourage them to see it through; Failure to adopt new behavior and thought patterns.

You may think of more reasons, but these four points are to bring us to the place to understand that the flesh is weak. One example of a New Years resolution which is probably the most popular, is weight loss. Usually, beginning in November, television, news papers, magazines, internet and other forms of media focus their advertisements on weight loss. However, every time I see an advertisement promoting weight loss, I find it interesting that they never reveal the failure rate. If you do some research, you will find that only about five percent of the people who make a resolution to loss a certain amount of weight make their goal and keep the weight off for five years or more.  Although I am using weight loss as an example, there is certainly nothing wrong with trying to loss weight if you have a weight problem. Actually, it's a good thing.

For the believer however, a so called resolution should not be a first day of the New Year thing. Believers should be determined to be a reflection of Christ in and through their life every day, but we must remember and act upon some sound advise. "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." (Colossians 3:23) "For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.' (Romans 14:8) Everything in the believers life should not be to gratify ourselves or to please men per se, but to please the Lord. Solomon tells us the conclusion of all of mans vain self efforts, "...Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Next, we must not try to do things through our talents and strength, but, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6). The apostle Paul reveals several things along these lines. But one of the greatest revelations that he received was through his pray to the Lord asking Him to deal with the messenger of Satan that was stirring up persecution and opposing the work that the Lord called him to. The Lord said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." The revelation Paul received was, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) It is of the utmost importance that believers rely upon the Lord, His strength and abilities to accomplish any task or conquer any trial that may be encounter in this life. This is why Paul was able say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." )Philippians 4:13)

Another area to consider is understanding who believers are in Christ. When believers come to a full knowledge of no longer being identified with who they were before they were born again and know who they are in Christ, then they will understand what it means when Jesus said, "nothing is impossible to those who believe." (Mark 9:23) Knowing who one truly is in Christ sets believers free from shame, condemnation, guilt and inferiority. They will walk in a freedom that will cause them to not make resolution but find the grace and power to overcome and live victorious. For instance, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) The old nature, the old way of doing things, the old person that you were prior to your salvation is gone. You have been made completely new in Christ and have right standing with God.

Finally, you must have and use your own faith. What does this mean? All believers one day must come to the place where their own faith has grown and has brought them to know without doubt, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." (1 John 5:14-15) This is actually a realm of Christianity that few believers come to. Not because they do not desire to have this level of faith. It is mostly due to a lack of studying and meditating on God's Word as well as faithless church leaders leading people down a path that causes then to believe man's doctrines over God's Word. These things will prevent believers from having their own faith but will cause them to rely on another believers faith hoping to live a victorious Christian life.

All of these things if applied in the believers life will change their behavior and thought patterns. These things are not self imposed, by Holy Spirit inspired. The apostle Paul tells us to, "...Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) So you see we do not have to make New Year resolutions to only have them fail. We can live in the power and ability of God everyday through faith in Jesus Christ to overcome every obstacle of life and do the impossible where others fail. So this New Years, do not make a New Years resolution but, "...lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of you." (Philippians 3:12) And as the apostle John said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers" (3 John 2) is also my prayer for you. Therefore, have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year and may the grace and peace of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ be multiplied to you...

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