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FASTLY APPROACHING A NEW YEAR
Victor M. Eskew
It is difficult to imagine that we are right on the verge of a New Year. 2019 will be here in just a couple of days. 2018 will be gone. It will be written in the history books. We will all have to get used to writing 2019 on things that require a date. I bet most of us will mess up a time or two before it becomes a habit. As we reach this transitional period, there are some very important matters that we need to contemplate.
First, time flies. Every adult understands this. If we blink, days and weeks can pass. If we nap, months and years can slip away. We come to realize very quickly just how short life really is. Job said that man who is born of woman is of few days (Job 14:1). The Bible compares life to a shadow (Job 8:9) and to the flower of grass (I Pet. 1:24) and to a vapor (James 4:14). All of us age, look back, and say: “Where did the time go?”
Second, time lost can never be recovered. There are no “do overs” in life. We only have this day, this hour, this minute to live. Once it is gone, it is gone for good. Moses realized that the days of our life are valuable. He understood that once a moment is gone it will never return. Therefore, he exhorts us, saying: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). Paul has a similar message in his letter to the Ephesians. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15-17).
Third, each day can be a new beginning. We often refer to the “New Year.” The world has made a big deal about welcoming it in. But, most of us need new days. Today may have been horrible. There may have been a tragic loss that we suffered. It could be that we have thoroughly messed up. We may have yielded to sin. We may have been involved in an argument with a close friend. Today was just not a good day. That’s “okay.” Each day is a new beginning. When we arise, we can make new resolutions for the day. We can correct the mistakes of yesterday. We can live differently. Just think: Today is New Day’s Eve. We have studied Peter’s threefold denial. That was an extremely bad day for Peter. The Bible tells us that after he denied the Lord the third time that “he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). After this, Peter had a new day. He rose with strength, confidence, and resolve to serve his Lord with greater fervor. And, he did. So can each of us. Every day can be a new beginning.
Fourth, there is no need to let our past ruin our future. Hundreds of things can happen to us throughout the course of a year. The things that can impact our lives are sometimes difficult. They fill our hearts and lives with darkness and sorrow. They cause us to look at ourselves in very negative ways. They put us in places that we never thought we would be. They change our thinking. They change our way of life. They change our relationships. But, the things of the past should never be allowed to ruin our future. We must remember: We only have one life to live. Once it is gone, it’s gone. We MUST live the life that we have to the fullest. Living in the past does not change the past. Living in the past does not make me a better person. Living in the past does not bring healing. Living in the past does not bring the joy to my life that God wants me to have. My friends, learn from the past and move forward. We have to be like the apostle Paul. “…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” (Phil. 3:13-14).
Fifth, we can make some choices about the New Year. We often refer to these as “New Year’s Resolutions.” God has created us to be people who can make choices for our lives. Too, He has instilled within us many talents and abilities. We do not have to live our lives as we have been living them. We can make plans. We can set those plans in action. We can make changes, big changes. Far too many people make excuses as to why things cannot be done to radically alter their lives. Instead of saying: “This is why not,” they need to say: “Why not?” The world presents us with almost an unlimited supply of opportunities. All we have to do is seize them. Carpe deim needs to be our motto. “Seize the day!” Remember it was Paul who said: “Redeeming the time” in Ephesian 5:16. We must buy it up. We must use it wisely. If not, it will be spent. We will look back on a wasted life instead of one used wisely.
Sixth, this upcoming year will bring many more things into our lives. Some of these things will be uplifting, exciting, and joyful. Some of them will be painful, agonizing, and sorrowful. We have no clue what these things could be. The only thing that we can do is develop ourselves into people who can handle whatever is thrown at us. We must concentrate on our hearts. We must focus on our character. We must develop our inner man. In so doing, we are prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly. To do this, we must also get rid of the negatives within us. Paul admonished Colossians “put off” and “put on” many things in Colossians 3:8-17. “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth…Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind meekness, longsuffering…and above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness…And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body and be ye thankful…And whatsoever ye do in word of deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” We often spend several hours taking care of our outer man. We also need to spend time on the inner man. He will be the one that will allow us to meet the challenges of this New Year.
Yes, we are fastly approaching a New Year. On Tuesday, 2019 will be here. Wow! Please think about the things we have put before you in this article. Then, consider one more thing. Never, never, never live your life without God in it. This is the message that James affirms in James 4:13-17. “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Dear reader, you cannot be an alien sinner and have God in your life. You cannot be unfaithful to God and expect Him to be with you. You cannot go about trying to establish your own righteousness and have Him as a companion. The only way to truly have God with us it to live in accordance with His will every day of our lives. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). We will close with the words of a well-known hymn:
Live for Jesus, O my brother, His disciple ever be.
Render not to any other, What alone the Lord’s should be
Live for Jesus, live for Jesus; Give him all thou hast to give;
On the cross the world’s Redeemer, Gave his life that thou mightst live.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERY ONE!!!