Walking Into the New Year with Jesus.

Posted: 02/01/2012 in God
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So it ends­, another year gone by far too quick and another one beginning. How can it be 2012 already when it only seems like yesterday that many were all madly buying torches and stocking up on canned food for the chaos that was expected at the turn of the century! And yet here we are. Between the 27th to New Years Eve people often find themselves reflecting on the past twelve months and considering the next 365 days. Even for those that don’t care much for New Year’s resolutions reflecting and considering are almost unavoidable. I used to make New Year’s resolutions but not anymore. I find they somehow inevitably set me up for a fall. Somehow I think that for many of us we have this idea that if we make New Year’s resolutions, that on the first day of the New Year some kind of phenomena occurs that enables us to bring about the changes we need in order to feel happy, be more successful or give up bad habits. We wake up the next day and find that nothing has changed, we don’t feel any different and a few weeks or a few months down the track we’re in exactly the same place. Disillusioned we carry on as if it were just another day until suddenly it’s Christmas all over again.

Resolutions imply change or the betterment of something. So how can I as a Christian woman, flawed as I am and with many ambitions, leave 2011 behind me without regret or guilt and begin a new year with renewed hope and confidence that the choices I make will result in the change I desire? The only answers I have ever found to my seemingly endless questions that actually result in a positive outcome are from the bible. So what does scripture say about the reflecting on the past and considering the future? I could list numerous verses that help me understand how to do this but the one that sums it up for me is one I’ve mediated on a lot over the last month. “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in” (Hebrews 12:2). If I’m not looking to Jesus then I’m looking elsewhere and that’s usually back to the past or forward to the future. On top of that it’s beyond simple and grateful reflection and is usually accompanied with remorse and worry.  Instead if I look to Jesus and study who he is, what he said and how he lived his life, coping with all the trials he faced, three things are clear. Firstly, as his child, as someone who has given my life to him I can know with one hundred per cent assurance that I am forgiven. I no longer stand condemned for my sin. In John 3:18 Jesus tells us that he was sent not to accuse us but to put us right with God and all we have to do is believe in him (John 1:12). If I am regreting the past then I am living in condemnation and that is contrary to what Jesus has promised. The bible clearly states “… there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).

Secondly he trusted his Father, who is our Father, God (Matthew 6:10, Luke 22:42). Jesus put the Kingdom and will of God above everything else and as a result was able to carry on, even when he knew the great suffering he would face. In fact prior to his death he was in such great distress he sweat drops of blood but was still able to surrender his will to the Father. He also spoke about not worrying; he was speaking as someone who knew what it was like to live in this troubled world and yet had experienced the provision and care of God (Matthew 6:33-34).

Thirdly Jesus gave us the first of the two greatest commandments of all. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). The word love used here is the Greek agapáō which means that a follower of Christ chooses to embrace the will of God with the power and strength he provides. It is in a sense total surrender. If I love God with all my heart, soul and mind, with everything in me then my life, decisions, plans, hopes and dreams (resolutions) should reflect that. Whatever decisions I need to make, whatever challenges I might face should be done with a heart of surrender to my heavenly Father.

Of course we can gratefully reflect on the past and thoughtfully consider the future but more than that, we can confidently face the New Year. We can go into it without regret, without making half hearted resolutions and by handing our worry over to him (even if that’s a daily thing). As long as we’re looking to Jesus we can face tomorrow. In doing this, every day can be a new years day!

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