“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3: 13-14
Here in this passage Paul is encouraging the church to move forward for the glory of God and the cause of Christ. Paul was addressing the issue back then and we are still seeing it in the church today. There are many churches that are so obsessed with the past that they can’t move forward for the cause of Christ. Though it may not be popular it still remains true that if God has forgiven you, then forgive yourself and move on. Paul had problems with the church in this passage wallowing in their own failures.
With the new year upon us, it behooves us to learn a great deal from what Paul has to say. Today we end this year. This is it. There is no going back and changing what we have done. All we can do is look ahead and learn from mistakes made and successes gained. But of more importance than ending this year is knowing that tomorrow starts a brand new year. We can’t go back and change 2014, but we can learn from 2014 and make a difference in 2015! From this passage we can learn of 3 truths that we must strive to keep alive as we bring in the new year.
As we look ahead to 2015 we must not let up on the preaching of the gospel. It is crucial that we strive even harder to reach the world with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow there will be new years resolutions made by most people. Is reaching more people with the gospel part of your plan for the new year? As a child of God we should strive to show forth Christ in our everyday lives. When the world looks at you what do they see? What does the world read when they read you? Do they see an accomplished business professional? A successful career? Or do they see the amazing grace of the God of Heaven? As I look back on this year I can see areas in which I could have been more of a witness. I could have been more of a help. I can’t go back and change those things, but I can strive to make a difference with the new year. Don’t let the gospel die in 2015! Make the effort to reach people everyday!
We must also keep the praises of God alive in 2015. When we think of praise we automatically think of praise and worship at church, but true praise extends far beyond the realms of the church. As Christians we should have a spirit of praise about us everyday we live. We have much to be thankful for and much to praise Him for. We can all look back on 2014 and see regrets, but if we are honest we can look back and see so many more blessings. Life isn’t always easy, but in living for Jesus the blessings sure outweigh the regrets! As we go about our daily lives in the new year we must strive to develop and maintain a spirit of praise. It doesn’t mean that we must spend time on our knees praying when we are being paid to work, but it does mean that in everything we do to give thanks to the Lord. Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” This doesn’t mean that we can never get up off of our knees, but it means we must have a thankful heart everyday that we live. As we bring in the new year lets keep the praises of God alive.
We must also realize and understand that this could be the year that we get to see Jesus face to face. We must keep a watch toward that eastern sky because this could be the day that the Lord returns. We still have several hours left of 2014. He may still return before the new year comes, but if not we must still be prepared. It should make our hearts rejoice to know that this could be the year that Christ returns for His people. This could be the year that we finally get to see again those who have gone before us.
As wonderful as all of that is, we must also realize that we are still only one heartbeat away from eternity. If you have never been saved then bring in the new year right! Bring it in with the assurance that if the trumpet does sound in 2015, you are ready to meet the Lord! We are told by the prophet Amos to “Prepare to meet the Lord thy God.” There is no better way to start a brand new year than with a brand new heart!
May we bring in the new year with the resolve to do more for Christ and to make an even bigger impact on the lives of those around us as we strive to be more like Him!
May God continue to richly bless you in all that you do for Him!
Happy New Year!