Summary: A sermon to help us enter the new year with a proper focus and purposeful intent. Text and audio will be placed at www.sermonlist.com
What is the one thing most people have in common at the new year? Most of us make resolutions, don’t we? One young boy asked his father what his new years resolution was, and his father said he was going to do everything possible in the new year to make his mother very happy.
The boy asked his mother what hers was, and she said, “To do everything possible to make sure your father keeps his resolution.”
Why do we make those things anyway? We make them because there are areas in our lives we are either unhappy with, or areas in our lives we want to be better. They did a survey a few years back and the number one resolution in America was to lose weight.
A wife came into the bathroom to see her husband standing on the scales with his stomach sucked in. She told him that sucking in his stomach wouldn’t make it any better. He said it would, because if he didn’t suck it in, he couldn’t read the numbers.
This is one of those very few times when everybody, believers and non-believers alike, are going to be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time: Leaving one place and going into another. Of course, I am talking about leaving 2007 and entering 2008.
The number “7” is the number for completion, and the number “8” is the number for new beginnings. As we prepare to celebrate another new year, I want to talk a little about how we should leave and how we should enter.
So, what are you planning on leaving behind as you enter the new year? When we leave 2007, I think we should …
1. LEAVE IT COMPLETELY
When we pray, we often take our needs to the Lord and ask His help in dealing with them. And then what do we do? Instead of leaving them with Him, we take them back with us as we finish praying.
We need to learn to leave things where they belong. If 2007 really is a year of completion for you, don’t you think you should learn to leave some things completely?
What are some of the things we need to leave behind? I think it can be summed up by just saying that anything in our lives that keep us from fully focusing on the Lord should be left behind. Being a Christian means to always be going forward. Have you ever noticed how we always talk about our walk? We talk about our walk in life; our walk of faith; and walk with the Lord. By its very nature, walking means moving forward. And as we move forward, we are always doing two things: We leave one place and go into another.
As we leave, let us leave behind those parts of ourselves that do us no good. Here are some suggestions as to what you might choose to leave behind.
- - LEAVE YOUR RESENTMENT BEHIND
Each of us resent something. We might resent something we have said and done, or we might resent what someone else has said and done. But along with resentment comes unforgiveness. And unforgiveness is a very dangerous thing to keep in our lives.
Jesus said that if we forgive, God will forgive us. But if we do not forgive, God will not forgive us. Now, we must understand that to forgive does not mean the same thing as to forget. We cannot erase our memories, but we can erase our resentment.
I would suggest that we just look at things from a different perspective. Instead of looking at your resentment from the negative side, start looking at it from the positive side. In other words, when you remember those things, as you surely will, look at them as an example of what not to ever feel again. Understanding where they will lead you should be enough encouragement to do so.
So forget those things which hurt you. And forgive those people who did or said them. I like the old saying: “Look lovingly upon your enemies, for it is you who have made them.” We choose to dislike people, based upon what we like or think. We must realize that we are not the perfect examples, so we shouldn’t hold others accountable to our standards.
Also, if you stoop low enough to begrudge others - - THEY WIN! So make a decision to leave your resentment behind.
- - LEAVE YOUR WORRIES BEHIND
Worries are very much like rocking chairs. They give you something to do, but they never take you anywhere while you’re doing it. We only worry about two things: Things we can change and things we cannot change. Why waste time doing something that not only hurts us and never helps us?