It’s a new year. All of us face the new differently. Some face new with excitement, while others receive it with a little apprehension. I always like the New Year. It is a new beginning of sorts.
When I enter into the New Year, I am reminded of God’s invitation to walk with Him in continual newness. God calls us to be teachable and put any harmful old ways behind us as we do life His way. We are to give our whole selves to Him. Paul writes:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him” (Rom 12:1, The Message).
We are called to give ourselves entirely to God because of His saving grace. We are to be a living sacrifice, meaning that we have been offered new life in Christ. We are also a living sacrifice because unlike the Old Testament sacrifices that gave their lives by death and blood, we are saved through the finished work of Christ’s death on the cross and covered by His blood. He is the ultimate sacrifice that makes our living sacrifice possible. Therefore, we are to be dedicated entirely to God. This is our reasonable response to God’s profound love. Only as we commit ourselves to the Lord in this way can we be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Paul continues:
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you” (Rom 12:2, The Message).
When we focus on the Lord, He leads us down a Spirit-empowered life of newness. The world, the flesh, and the devil still threaten those who belong to Christ, so we must resist its pressure. Our lives are changed as the Lord makes our minds new. This empowers us to recognize God’s path and walk with Him.
The New Year for me speaks of a new beginning. I am able to press forward like Paul who wrote:
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13-14, ESV).
Paul is writing about progressing in the new life a believer has in Christ. Like Paul, we are to put the past behind us. We are to learn from our past for sure, but we aren’t to allow it to keep us from advancing in Christ. We are to focus on the Lord and continually reach ahead to see God’s kingdom expand in and through us. We are to “press on” to receive the “prize” that is the fullness of blessings and reward in the age to come, seen especially in unhindered fellowship with Christ forever. That is a new I fully anticipate.
As we head into this New Year, let’s focus on Christ and embrace the new He has for us. It is a new year and each day is a new day. Don’t allow anything to keep you from the pursuit of walking with God and truly being blessed by Him in newness of life and power, so that, we will be a blessing for others. I wish you a Happy New Year. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!