Summary: What do you think of when you hear the word, “new”? Fresh, pure, clean? Another new year is upon us. How will we approach it? What will we do with it? Will it be a repeat of last year? Will we be a repeat of last year? Or will we experience newness? How c
INTRODUCTION: What do you think of when you hear the word, “new”? Fresh, pure, clean? Another new year is upon us. How will we approach it? What will we do with it? Will it be a repeat of last year? Will we be a repeat of last year? Or will we experience newness? How can we experience and demonstrate newness?
1) By leaving the old behind. We’re not going to be successful at experiencing and demonstrating what’s new if we’re clinging to what’s old. Part of looking ahead is leaving behind. Out with the old; in with the new. What is it we need to leave behind as we look ahead?
• Old setbacks. As we approach a new year, we might have the tendency to look back over our last year and look ahead in discouragement. We’re discouraged that all the goals and accomplishments, all the things we said we were going to achieve in 2010 didn’t happen and here we are, facing 2011 with the same unmet goals. Therefore, the reality hits me that yet another year of precious time has ticked away and what do I have to show for it? I haven’t gained? I haven’t grown? Maybe 2010 wasn’t just a year of unmet goals, perhaps it was just an outright bad year. Maybe I relapsed in 2010. Maybe I lost my job in 2010. Maybe I lost a loved one or maybe I broke up with someone. We need to be able to let go of past failures if we are going to be able to look ahead with a positive attitude.
• Old resentments. Now is the time to let go of past confrontations, past arguments. There is no newness when we’re holding onto old bitterness and hatred toward someone. No matter how many new things or opportunities you’re faced with, holding onto old anger will surely undermine your accomplishments. Past resentments will get in the way of experiencing and demonstrating newness. But if I’m forgiving I open the door for a fresh, clean new start.
• Old accomplishments. We also need to leave our successes in the past as well. We can’t rest on our laurels. We also can’t expect our past accomplishments to repeat themselves. If a team wins a game, it doesn’t think they will automatically win the next one. Just like a loss from the previous game, the coach will tell his team to put it behind them and move forward. If we don’t put our past accomplishments aside we will become overconfident and expect that our success will repeat itself and when it doesn’t we will crash hard. If we don’t put old accomplishments behind us we will not be ready for what’s new.
2) By having a new faith. James 2:14-19. This is a faith that transcends from being a believer to a true follower. There’s a difference between believing and following. We need to allow our faith to be deeper. Same belief in the same Jesus but deeper. We need to step it up and go from being a believer to a follower. Instead of just believing certain truths about Christ I need to surrender. That means I will need to leave things behind. When Jesus called his disciples to follow him they left things behind and followed him. Peter and Andrew left their father, boat and nets behind and followed Jesus. Matthew left his tax collector’s booth behind and followed Jesus. We will need to leave some things behind too. We will need to leave behind pride, control, self-will and personal gain. This new, radical faith involves casting off the sin that so easily entangles us. It involves casting off the fear and doubt that would stop us from going from believing to following. But some who are here today are teetering on that fence. You’re a believer but you’re not really a follower. It’s a new year and now is the right time to have a new, deeper faith.