Happy New Year:
This week’s reading in Hebrews has been all about faith. We watch so many friends struggle with the courage to face another year. When in reality, it’s just another day on the calendar.
The frenzy to make resolutions is more about traditions than realistic expectation to uphold the silent pledge just before the stroke of midnight.
The word God placed on my heart this week has been “faith.” The book of Hebrews gives so many examples of faithful people in our past. These were not mighty heroes from days of old. They were folks like you and me. The difference was faith in something sight unseen, like another new year.
What is faith? It’s defined as this:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1
There are a few verses I want to share with you to encourage you before that old clock strikes midnight, plus one to kick off another calendar year.
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
If you are struggling today with sin, doubt, fear, depression, or you may be facing divorce or the uncertainty of family relationships, the holidays only serve to heighten the negative effects. But look at God’s promise – go boldly to Him in your time of need.
Still, we see friends fearful of the year’s passing and a new one approaching. Maybe 2016 didn’t work out so well. Did you lose a loved one, a relationship, a job, or just hope? Don’t place your dreams in the hollow hopes of empty resolutions.
Statistically speaking, if you failed to uphold these wishes over the last 365 days, chances are close to zero that because a clock’s second hand swipes across the face of a quartz crystal, you’ll magically do it now.
So where does that leave us? With Faith and with Hope. Let’s look at another verse from Hebrews.
But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. – Hebrews 6:9
How’s that for something to look forward to? God is confident that there is something better for you. But guess what? You’ve got to have faith.
Now you ask what will happen if you mess up this coming year like you did in the past. No one is perfect after all, right? Then why do we carry so much pain around when God asks, pleads, begs, and even sent His Son to die for those sins? having faith also means placing our unrestricted trust in Him.
This doesn’t mean God will give you winning lotto numbers, but He will give you something that’ll outlast the high taxation rate on those winnings. He offers you eternal life. It’s hard to comprehend eternity when you’re only focused on paying the light bill, but this is where faith comes back into play.
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. – Hebrews 8:12
I trust you’re starting to gain a different perspective about the coming new year. Yes, it’s just as long as the 365 days you endured in 2016, but it’s how you choose to fill those days that will make the difference.
So many folks start off with that resolve to make this year, their year. By March, they’ve stumbled back into the grind, and by May they’ve waved the white flag once again. The ability to endure doesn’t mean mugging a frown when times get tough.
It means learning to move at a steady pace through the course. God even gives us instructions in Hebrews for making it through all 365 days and still finishing strong.
…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1
I’ll paraphrase from my triathlon doing days, “Steady pace completes the race.” I know it lacks biblical muster, but the idea is consistent.
Find daily anchors to lift you higher. think of an ice or mountain climber using the picks and tiny hand holds to slowly move up. It’s doable.
And one of my favorite verses in Hebrews and the bible, is also something we all should strive for along with faith. It’s peace. Want less stress, increase your peace.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. – Hebrew 12:14
Isn’t that beautiful?
So here you go. A tailored made game plan for approaching 2017 with a realistic game plan guaranteed to get you to and through another year.
The big difference this go around is instead of disappointment over forgetting what resolutions you made, you’ll rejoice in the faith you’ve increased.
Here’s to a Happy New Faithful Year