Let me first begin by wishing each and every one of you a very blessed and happy New Year! It always amazes me how every time we come to the end of a year and begin a new one, we come with many new goals and dreams that we desire to accomplish in the new year. Many of those goals and dreams are great in themselves but the sad truth is that it seems so many of those goals and dreams fail to come pass. A huge reason for that I believe is that we sadly fail to change many of our old ways from the previous year that hindered us from going forward. As I look at my own life, I can quickly identify a lot of old ways, a lot of old bad habits that hindered my growth in the Lord in the previous year that I fail to get rid of, so my spiritual growth was hindered greatly.
You have heard it said before, old habits never die. Everyone of us are creatures of habit but the sad truth is that some of our habits are bad and they need to change. We often use the excuse that we just can’t change but that is just a big lie we use so as to not change some of our old bad habits. It is very hard for anyone to go forward unless they first know from where they are going forward from.
Let’s say you struggle with a simple thing like remembering people’s names, (this is one of my big issues) There are those who have such a great memory that after hearing someone’s name for the first time, it immediately gets locked into their brain. When they see that person again, they address them by their name and for those of us who struggle with remembering names, we stand back in amazement. For those of us I say, we need to make it a point in the new year to ask the Lord to help us with our memory. If we can ask the Lord to heal cancer, and He does heal cancer, why would it be any harder to ask the Lord to help us with our memory. This rule can apply to any issue we may struggle with in our life. The bigger issue I believe is that we fail to even ask the Lord for help in any area of our life, and we need to search our hearts as to why that may be.
At the start of every new year you hear people making new year resolutions, only to sadly see them fail to keep those resolutions within the first month of the new year. I try to go to the gym on a regular basis and it’s always amazing to me how many people sign up for new gym memberships so they can get in better shape, only to sadly see them drop off within the first few weeks of the year. At the first sign of soreness in their bodies and the realization of the commitment this is going to take, they quickly fail to see it through. It’s no different when it comes to our spiritual life.
We read in Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” We also read in James 1:2-4 “Consider, it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.” The Apostle Paul said his life was worth nothing to him unless he finished the race and completed the task the Lord set before him. I am not much of a runner but I do know that to lift higher weights you must first be able to lift the smaller weights.
For us to go forward in any new year, we must first know we have completed the task the Lord gave to us in the year before; that we finished our race and now we are ready for whatever the Lord had for us in the new year. I watch people in the gym as they try to take shortcuts or take what they want to call supplements, all in the attempt to get away from actually doing the hard work and discipline it takes to get in shape. I’ve learned in the gym and more importantly in my own spiritual life that there aren’t any shortcuts to developing perseverance, it just takes hard work and being committed to finishing my race.
Are you ready for a great new year in 2018?? The Lord is ready to give us a great year in 2018 but we must know there aren’t any shortcuts to go forward; to finish our race. Determine in your hearts and minds in 2018 that you will hang in there, through whatever may come your way and not give up at the slightest difficulty. So this time next year you can truly say, I went forward in the Lord and I am ready to do it again!!!
Categories: A Pastor's Blog