Hope. It’s what we all need a little more of these days. With the dawning of a new year comes an opportunity for new beginnings. If you haven’t done so yet, take some time over the next couple of days to dream of what the coming year could be like. You’ll want to start by taking a look back to learn from what worked and didn’t last year.
Remember that a new year beginning marks time for everyone in the same way. Nearly everyone is talking about their new year’s resolutions or goal setting strategies. Our faith journeys, on the other hand, are all on a different schedule. Here’s a Bible verse to reflect on: 2 Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” When we belong to Christ, we get a fresh start at life. We are forgiven and free!
How have you set yourself up for success this coming year? The best way to start thinking in positive terms for what is to come is simply diving into God’s word. Like buried treasure, there is always something valuable for you to cling to each time you read a passage or verse.
Paul gives us some real wisdom regarding what we should do to stay focused on God. In Ephesians 4:21-24, he writes: “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” What does putting on a “new nature” mean to you? How do you act to reflect Jesus? We have access to the Holy Spirit who will renew our thinking to be more like God.
Another wise man used by God was Solomon. In Proverbs 23:17-18 he writes, “Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.” If it’s hope we’re looking for, we need to put our trust and awe in the LORD. Every day!
Sometimes it’s hard not to look with envy at the material things other people have accumulated. Having a relationship with Jesus brings a joy to life that things cannot. The joy that abounds from knowing your salvation is secure will outweigh any fleeting happiness from having the latest gizmo. Don’t get me wrong, having “things” is not bad, unless it distracts you from your relationship with God.
Do you make God a priority in your life? Do you put your trust and hope in him? The prophet Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 3:22-24, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
Have you made regular Bible reading a priority for you? Maybe that’s one of the things you’d like to do a better job of in this new year. Set a time each day that works for you. If you don’t know where to begin, reach out to me or leave a comment below. Let’s figure out together what Bible study style will work the best for you.
Isn’t it time to put your hope in the LORD? The prophet Micah said, “As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” (Micah 7:7)
Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for bringing me safely through another year. It gives me such peace that you have gone ahead of me and are preparing the way. Help me to trust in you and ignore the trappings of the world. Transform me into the person you want me to be so that I can make a difference for you in this new year. In Jesus’ name. Amen.