End the Old and Begin the New
The hope of the New Year is found in fresh starts and new beginnings. This time of year we talk of New Year’s resolutions and the like, all with the expectations of getting a new grip on life. I am thankful with God; we can get a fresh start anytime.
I like the words Paul wrote to the church of Philippi, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, / I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).
Just think about it, one of the greatest men of God who ever lived said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended” (v. 13). He is basically saying, “I have not arrived but…” I may not have done all I set out to do and I may not have done as well as I intended to do but… Maybe I have not hit all the targets but at least the arrows were going in the direction of the target. Some folks hit nothing because they aimed at the same. Oh well, time marches on so what is one to do?
Quit crying over spilled milk… “But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind (v. 13). While you’re soaking in the tear-drop tub of the past the clock is still ticking. Get up and get at it. If you have sinned—Repent!! God is faithful to forgive the repentant sinner. If with God there were, “Three strikes and you’re out!” there would be no one on base. Welcome to the sinner’s reunion!
Whatever is in your past get over it and get around it. I don’t mean to demean your suffering or your hurt but too many folks ruin their future by their past. Dwelling on the past ruins the present and spoils the future—drop the anchor of the past and sail! The water of “what it could have been” has already washed out of the river and into the ocean. Let it go, and dip a fresh bucket of the present and fill the barrel of the future. Jesus was crucified for your sins, shame, and failures but He was resurrected for your new life – get off the cross and out of the tomb! Jesus went beyond both so we could walk in the power of His resurrected life.
While others may be crying over spilled milk, pour another glass of milk. “Reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (v. 13). Get over it and get going. There is nothing like a fresh page to write on with a sharpened new pencil. More likely than not, the sun will rise on a new day tomorrow. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV).
Way too many folks keep going around the mountain without setting a chart for the future. Someone has said that, “Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”
Set a Kingdom priority and establish a Godly goal. “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14). Notice the apostle said the “upward call”. God always calls us upward. We come before Him surrendered but He calls us up. I bowed before Him as a sinner and He lifted me up and called me righteous. I surrendered to Him as a servant and He lifted me and called me His child. It is difficult to comprehend the height He calls us to.
Often what we say we value and what we really value is easily detected. We can inventory our time used, energy expended, and money spent and quantify how much we value the things of God’s Kingdom. God calls from the temporary to the eternal. Jesus tells us to put our treasures in Heaven and not on earth. Remember, He calls us “upward” beyond the petty temporal things to the value of things eternal. It cannot be only cute words as found on a greeting card but we need to put shoe leather to what we say.
Paul said, “I press toward the goal.” God has set the target high and He wants us to stretch to the point of faith. We must aim high because God has established the target of His Kingdom principles and perspectives. Let’s hit the New Year putting everything in Kingdom perspectives. I don’t want to live like the world—I want to live like Jesus. I don’t want to be hateful and selfish like the world—I want to love like Jesus. I don’t want to promote myself to the depths of the world—I want to serve like Jesus.
Not happy with your progress and sad about the past – join the crowd! Put it behind you and reach for the goal of God’s Kingdom perspective and leave the pack behind. Most will not pull away but God calls us upward! Hurry up, are you coming?
Scripture: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, / I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV).
My prayer: Father, forgive me for all the things I have done wrong. Forgive me for the good things I should have done but didn’t. I ask that you give me renewed strength to plunge forward into the future by faith. In this coming year, help me to: Live Like Jesus, Love Like Jesus, and Serve Like Jesus.