Summary: God is calling you this New Year. He wants you to change your life. He wants to give you a new name, a new beginning.
A New Name
A minister wrote in the church newsletter, that he was setting new goals for the New Year. One of his goals was to clean up his desk. Another of his goals was to finally find where he put last year’s goals. There might be some of you who probably keep your desks like that.
There’s an old American comic strip called “Calvin and Hobbes”. In one strip, Calvin and Hobbes are talking about the New Year. Calvin says, “I’m getting disappointed with these New Years. They don’t seem very new at all. Each New Year is just like the old year. Here another year has gone by, and everything is still the same. There’s still pollution and war and greed. Things have not changed. I say what kind of future is this? I thought things were supposed to improve. I thought the future was supposed to be better.”
Hobbes replies with his keen insight, “The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present.”
The New Year is traditionally a time for reflection. We look back over the year and assess our successes and failures. We gain satisfaction over our successes, and we experience grief and guilt over our failures. Each time we face a new beginning, we have hopes that things will be different and hopefully better. But remember, the future just keeps turning into more of the present. Time is constantly in motion.
Some of us come to church in the hopes that the Holy Spirit may fall anew on us. We hope that the future will be full of exciting new possibilities, positive change and new growth. We always look for something new and different to change our lives for the better.
Today I would like to meditate from Ephesians 1:3-6 for this New Year: “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
What great good news! We are God’s chosen ones. God doesn’t want our lives to be meaningless patterns. God always wants something better for us. That is why, there are some things we need to recognize as we begin this New Year. God has new things planned for you in your life. This New Year will not be the same as last year, for God loves doing new things.
God loves doing a new things
He said in Revelation 21:5: “Behold I make all things new.” He said practically the same thing through Isaiah the prophet, “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing. Isaiah 43:18-19.
God loves doing a new thing. However, there might be times when you and I are often afraid of change.
There was once a soon-to-be bride, who was extremely nervous about her wedding. She told her minister, she was not confident she could walk down the aisle without shaking or crying. So the minister, an experienced minister of weddings, gave her a bit of advice.
"When you begin your walk," he said, "just remember this three-point formula: First, look straight down the aisle; second, when you get about half-way, look straight up at the altar; and third, when you get near the front of the church, look straight at your groom. First the aisle, then the altar, then him. I think this will help relieve your nervousness."
The nervous bride agreed to his advice. And it worked beautifully. She walked with a radiant glow on her face and confidence in her step, with no sign of nervousness. However, there was a small problem. Imagine the surprise on the congregation’s face as they heard her repeating three words out loud, over and over again. She kept repeating, "Aisle, altar, him!" (x3)
"Aisle, altar, him!" Well, the truth is, most brides don't have a lot of luck in altering their husbands. But the good news of the Christian faith is that God can alter us! God can change us.
God loves change, especially changing lives. Changing the lives of those He loves for the better. We always try to change our lives. Many of us make New Year resolutions. But resolutions are hard to keep, wouldn’t you agree? How many of you have ever been determined to drop an old habit and begin a new one? How many of you have seen a resolution fail the same day you made it? Turning over a new page is hard.