If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.”I know of churches with great programs, but they are essentially earth-bound. I know of sermons that are homiletically well crafted and even motivating, but they are fundamentally of “this world only.” Indeed, many in our generation, in seeking to reach out to others with the Gospel, feel that an “earthier” message would be more appealing to the un-churched. More personally, probably a great many of us have been living out our faith with our eyes to the ground, rather than looking up – C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Beloved, there are not many things in this life that are permanent or certain, but eternity is… Are You Prepared? In obedience to God’s Word, we cannot hold onto what is temporary and look forward to eternity at the same time because earthly treasures pull us back (Matt 6:21). In each New Year, as a preliminary and preparation for eternal life with Jesus Christ, God is more interested in making our life holy than He is in making our life happy and more interested in our character than our comfort. Life will only make sense when we obey and agree that we were made by God and for God. New Year, New You is about God’s plan for you and I in this temporary world to change us into the image of Jesus Christ in preparation of His eternal use through repentance and renewal.
In the words of Eugene Peterson, everything has a beginning. He said, “The biblical story began, quite logically, with a beginning. Now it draws to an end, not quite so logically, also with a beginning. The sin-ruined creation of Genesis is restored in the sacrifice-renewed creation of Revelation. Each New Year in this temporary world shaped by the Gospel-redemption through the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ prepares and restores us in the sacrifice-renewed creation of Revelation.
Beyond many ‘new years’ and many ‘new things’ spoken of in Scripture (Matt 16:17, 2 kg 2:20, Judges 15:13), the promise of God to make all things new is connected with things spiritual and eternal. Our reading from Revelation invites us to a missional opportunity to renew our allegiance to Jesus who said, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:1-5). God will surely make “all things” new. That is the Good News. Every New Year will be make new one day.
Beloved, you and I are the New Year meant to be new in preparation for Eternal life in Christ Jesus. The New Year is in you and me. The New Year calendar is our renewal opportunity to practice what we have learned from God about life during the last twelve months in hope and joy of Eternal life in Jesus Christ. We cannot be a New Year person if we remain and living in the past or resting on our past achievements. JESUS, our Commander-in-Chief has promised to make all things new, hence the need to watch out in spirit and in truth. Every New Year as a gift from God summons us to personal renewal and closer walk with God.
New Year, New You as preparation for eternal life calls for spiritual progress in every area of our life, especially in our prayer life and study of God’s Word, the Holy Bible (Jn 6:68). How do we life and build New You wisely in the New Year in preparation for the new things Jesus promised? We live and build on the information and right foundation. The Magi heard the right information about the birth of Jesus even under the reign of King Herod and they search for the right King of kings and Lord of lords. King Herod was so deeply disturbed about the news of Jesus’ birth to the extent that he called for a ‘referendum’ among the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” He went further by calling for ‘a private meeting with the wise men.’ To live and build wisely in the New Year, New You in preparation for Eternal life in Jesus Christ, we must humble ourselves before Jesus Christ, give more to God mission and evangelism, and never return to or build on any past way, foundations, or associations that amounts to the symbol of Herod like power, money, fame, or immorality. The truth is that we receive salvation and obedience starts from from our heart, not from the head. We can only accept and follow Jesus Christ like the Wise Men in the New Year unless we surrender our pride, power, and head knowledge first to obey and do God’s will.
Just as Paul tells young Timothy what to “follow after,” New Year, New You calls you to fill your life with the things of God, including replacing sin with other things that produce spiritual growth in our lives, nations and churches. New Year, New You, in preparation for Eternal life in Jesus Christ calls for a forsaking that is necessary to be cleansed for God’s use, but also a following after the right things.
Using the words of Lewis, I pray for someone, in the New Year, may you never be guilty of being “too earthly minded to be any heavenly good” in Jesus mighty name.