The end of one year and the beginning of a new one.
Perhaps this past year has been a difficult one for you, full of loss and despair, and so the thought of a new beginning, a new dawn, fills you with hope as you look forward to what the future holds. That things will get better
Or maybe these hardships have soured your heart to the point where you can no longer see an end to your suffering.
Alternatively, you may have had a great year. One overflowing with joy. The best year of your life and you are excited to see what God has in store for you next.
But maybe you’re a worrier, “What if this is as good as it gets?” you ask, “What if it’s all downhill from here?”
Most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle. Our year has been a mixture of joy and sorrow, and likewise, our expectations for this new year, for 2014, are a mixture of hopeful anticipation and nagging anxiety.
The truth is we have no idea what 2014 will throw at us. We have no idea of the circumstances we will experience in the next 12 months. In fact, we are very much at the mercy of these circumstances which are far beyond our control.
There are things coming that we simply cannot control. That we cannot stop. That are going to bulldoze straight over us.
However, we can be in control of how we meet these circumstances if we trust in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour because we know we belong to a God who is sovereign over every aspect of our lives and over every circumstance we encounter, not just in 2014, but throughout the whole of our lives right into eternity.
It’s not just unbelievers who need to trust in Jesus but us Christians too!
We need to trust in Jesus because only in trusting Jesus will we be empowered to live boldly in the face of the uncertainties of life.
As we trust in Jesus we also need to continually be repenting of our sinful tendencies to try and wrestle control away from Jesus and back into our own hands.
We need to repent of trying to be our own little sovereign and instead embrace wholeheartedly the truth that we are powerless over the majority of things that happen to us and by faith rest in the Sovereignty of Jesus who rules over the Cosmos for the good of his body, the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Please take a few minutes to meditate on the words of Paul to the church in Colossae as he encouraged them to follow Jesus:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful .Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Together let’s enter 2014 with renewed vigour to follow Jesus by putting our sin to death and putting on the fruit of the Spirit.