Summary: 2015 is not just a new year; it’s a year of new! As we embark on a new year, there are three things I want to talk to you about that will help to make 2015 the year of ‘new’. Let’s see what they are.
2015: THE YEAR OF ‘NEW’!
INTRODUCTION: 2015 is not just a new year; it’s a year of new! Rev. 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Now granted, in context God is talking about the new heavens and the new earth. However, we see that God is in the business of newness. As bible commentator William Burkitt wrote, “Behold I make all things new; a good argument to encourage us to go unto Christ by prayer for renewing grace. Surely he that makes new heavens can make new hearts, he that renews an old world, can renew us in the spirit of our minds, and make old things pass away, and cause all things to become new.” As we embark on a new year, there are three things I want to talk to you about that will help to make 2015 the year of ‘new’. Let’s see what they are.
1) New you. 2nd Cor. 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” If I am a Christian then I am not who I once was; I’m a new person. And that means the old things that don’t belong need to go and I need to incorporate new things into my life.
How am I going to do that? Do I think about how this newness is going to happen? How do you plan to improve your situation? How do you plan on improving your financial situation, your work ethic, your relationships, your surroundings?
How do you plan on improving yourself? How do you plan on improving your diet, your exercise routine, your overall health and well being?
How do you plan on improving your spiritual well-being? Do you have a bible reading plan? Are you planning on reading more Christian books, plan on doing more in-depth study, plan on improving your church attendance or involvement? Is this the year you finally get more serious about these things? Is this the year you break that habit or develop that spiritual discipline? Is this the year you take the bull by the horns and say, “Yes, I can; yes, I will”?
Rom. 6:1-4, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Living a new life isn’t easy; is it? Sometimes it’s scary and uncomfortable. However, it’s necessary. We need to go through the molting process. What’s that? “In order to be able to grow, lobsters have to get rid of their old, hard, protective shell and grow a new, larger one. This process of shedding is called molting. They do this about twenty-five times in the first five years of life and once a year after they become adults. It’s not a pretty process. Under the pressure, the old, hard, protective shell cracks. Then the lobster lies on its side, flexes its muscles, and pulls itself from the cracked shell. For a short time—between the leaving of the old shell and the hardening of a new one—the lobster is naked, feeling vulnerable to the elements.”
That’s how growth can make us feel sometimes-exposed and vulnerable. But, as the lobster needs to do this in order to mature, so will we. Maybe you’ve been afraid of this process. Perhaps you are reluctant to allow yourself the vulnerability attached to change. You’re somewhat comfortable with your old shell. But, consider this, although the lobster is a little uncomfortable until his new shell forms, I bet that doesn’t compare to the relief he feels being free from his constricting old shell. It’s no different for us. As scary as the process of becoming new can be sometimes, it’s well worth it to be free from that old, constricting shell.
So, shall we go on living in our old shell? By no means, we were meant to break free and live in it no longer. What old shell do you need to get rid of in 2015? Old habit, old attitude? Whatever it is, break free so that 2015 can be the year of the new you.
2) New outlook. Along with this new you comes a new outlook. It’s not hard to have the wind taken out of our sails. It’s easy to think we can’t. It’s too easy to be a victim of bogged-down thinking where we are already convinced that 2015 will be more of the same-old-same-old. We need a fresh outlook; one that’s filled with optimism. Think of where our world would be if certain people listened to nay-sayers.