Happy New Year! When we say Happy New Year what are we saying to someone? Are we saying that we hope this New Year is better than the year before? We verbally give them a benediction that their problems are behind them and blessings are in the future. Every year people stay up later than usual in the night to see the old year go out and the New Year come in. What is your attitude about going into the New Year? What/who are you putting your trust in? What part do you play in the process?
Let us see what the apostle Paul has to say to us. 2 Corinthians 5:11- 17 Paul is telling us that “if we are in Christ that the old is gone, the new has come”. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself. He is telling us that we are Christ’s ambassadors. So, what is your attitude toward the New Year? Are you looking at 2021 as an unbeliever with no hope or as Christ’s Ambassador with all the resources of heaven available to you to have an amazing New Year? Every year and every day offer us a chance to a new beginning and offers us new hope. But how many of us really believe that, or put ourselves in a position to receive it from the Lord? Most people look forward to a new year for a new start, but carry the same old habits and hang ups with them. We make resolutions like ….I quit this…., I will start this…., I would say this and so on. Resolutions that most of the time are not kept even for the first month. I remember this story which I heard some time regarding the new year’s resolution. A little boy asked his father what his new year’s resolution was. “He was going to do everything possible in the new year to make his mother very happy.” The little boy then asked his mother the same question. She said, “To do everything possible to make sure your father keeps his resolution.”
Our attitude will have everything to do with whether 2021 ends up the way we desire it to. If you do not believe anything will change in 2021- it will not, it won’t. If you need to be reminded this every morning that you need to keep close to God in 2021- you are headed in the wrong direction. If you are trying to fix yourself, or try to find who you can blame for all that is going on in your life- you are headed in the wrong direction. 2021 will have renewed purpose when we understand that without the Lord, 2021 will just be another year, another resolution, another goal, but it won’t be a new life! Looking for joy in this life but looking in the wrong place. Looking for joy without the Lord, then you will not have. Looking for peace- peace comes only from God, and is not based upon no trouble. Looking for hope- It is based upon God’s wisdom and strength, that God will guide us through this journey to his promises. Attitude has everything to do how 2021 is coming in. Without an attitude change, without Christ being first in our life offers little hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. So, think what part do I play in the change. Here is where we dig into the text. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he /she is a new creation”. The key words “are in Christ”. He does not say, people that know of Christ. He says those that are in Christ. In Christ- is an intimate and personal relationship with the risen Christ. Because of Christ’ death and resurrection, He offers to us in Christ a new life- new creation.
Our forefather- the old Adam- offered death because of sin. The new Adam, Christ offers us a new life. The problem with most of us is we know of Christ, but we are not willing to live in Christ. One is according to the flesh, and the other is according to the Spirit of God. The creative process that is underway is redemptive and not destructive. All humanity was in Adam, but all Christians are supposed to be in Christ. Just like the ending of one year and the start of a new year. Those that are in Christ should be leaving some of their old ways behind with the hope of the redemptive change that God wants to make in us. When we pray- we ask God to take things away that we know are harmful, yet instead of leaving them, we pick them back up by the time we are done praying. This New Year: let us leave resentment behind, leave worries behind, leave your failures behind. If you don’t leave resentment behind, the one that suffers from un-forgiveness is you. You were not meant to carry that load from year to year. Hurts need to be given to the Lord- not to be carried around. Worries take up time and energy and have no positive outcome. A lot of what we worry about never happens. There are two things that should be on our mind. Doing things that need to be changed. Realizing that some things that cannot be changed and have the Lord show you how to deal with both. I believe we only fail if we do nothing or never try for a change. If we are in Christ, we are not a failure. No matter how many setbacks, Christ puts you back on your feet and calls you a winner.
What is our part? Be reconciled to God and allow God to be active in our life. Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the whole Armor of God. “Be strong in the lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full Armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Some of you have been a failure in the past year, some things we bring on ourselves, and some things are unavoidable. Change the things that you can change, and trust God in those unavoidable times to see you through. Ephesians 5:15- “Be very careful then, how you live- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” So be sure, our attitude determines what kind of a year we will have. Whether we are doing things in our own strength, or the un-limited power and strength of the Lord determines the outcome. What part do we play? Change the things that we can change- know that there are some things that won’t change. Trust God to help you in both circumstances. The last thing for finding God’s will for 2021 is “Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” If you only know of Christ, and you are not in Christ, you will not be able to find God’s will for your life. God promises to allow us to know God’s will for our life as we seek God and listen to what He has for us. Do you think God’s will for your life is: Worrying about everything? Saturating your mind with negative thoughts? Having anxiety about the future? Are you too busy that you cannot even grasp spiritual thoughts or have devotions time with Him? Let me tell you establish your priorities- God must be first. God must be a part of your decision making. If you are a Christian, you must be asking God for direction in your life.
How many would like to see something happen for them or their family in 2021? Do you have the right attitude to see it happen? Is God first? Are you in Christ and Christ controls your life? Are you willing to change what you know to change and are able to change? Are you trusting the Lord for the things that you cannot change and willing to turn the results over to God so that His will be done in your life?