Summary: This is a New Year's message looking at the Apostle Paul's admonition in Ephesians 5:15-20 to be careful with our time, opportunities, and in our seeking God, along with being filled with the Holy Spirit, and being Thankful. This will help us through the days ahead.
Be Ready And Prepared
A New Years Message
As we approach New Years Eve and 2019, we’re all ready to list out our resolutions. As I was pondering these New Year’s resolutions, a story came to mind about a young man calling his folks to wish them Happy New Years.
As he was talking to his dad he said, “Well dad, what’s your New Year’s resolution? And his dad replied, “To make your mother as happy as I can.”
He then asked his mom the same question. “Mom, what is your New Year’s resolution?” And she said, “To make sure your dad keeps his resolution.”
There have been many people I know that can’t wait for this year to end. They thought this year would be different, special, and a year that would see a lot of their dreams and goals realized. But now at the end they just want it to be over, and are reluctant to even think what this next year may or may not be like.
But as I look back, this can easily be said by all of us of the years gone by. Or as Solomon so aptly points out, that there is absolutely nothing that is new about this time of year.
In Ecclesiastes 1:9, Solomon said, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes towards the end of his life. He was now an old man who had a great beginning when He sought the Lord, but, as he got older, he allowed his passions to rule over God’s word, and so he is writing from a state of despair and discouragement.
But I really believe that it doesn’t have to be like this for us, that year by year new and exciting things can take place in our lives all the way up to and including our deaths, and that's because there will be another really big new thing, that is, we’ll now be in the presence of the Lord God in heaven for all eternity. So I believe we can go from one good thing to another, even if bad and evil happens in our lives, but this will only happen when we seek God.
The Apostle Paul said, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV)
Notice he says that all things, that is, both the good and the bad things that happen in our lives God will work out to our good when we place Him first and foremost in our lives.
It is with this in mind, that we can have a better New Year when we follow God’s plan instead of our own. This is what led me to consider what Paul said in Ephesians 5:15-20.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV)
From what it says here, there are three pieces of advice that we can take into this New Year that will make it the best year we could possibly have.
1. Be Careful
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV)
Being careful were two words I heard a lot growing up, and that’s because I found myself constantly getting in trouble, or I was about to do something that would have severe consequences, both to me and to others.
We also say this to others, but with other words like, “Be safe,” “Don’t rush,” and “Take your time, Rome wasn’t built in a day you know.”
But being careful is not just for our physical well being, it is also for our spiritual well being, and something we need to learn as we approach this next year to see it be the best it can be.
This is what Paul is saying to the church in Ephesus as he gives three areas that they we're to be careful in.
a. Be Careful With Time
The Bible tells us to use time wisely.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 NKJV)