My two favorite professional sports franchises which I have followed since childhood (The Boston Red Sox and the Dallas Cowboys), both had absolutely horrible and abysmal seasons in 2015, enduring as dead last “cellar-dwellers” buried deep in the bowels of their respective divisions. But oh what hope all their fans will hold once again next year as their new seasons begin! Why? Because that’s what sports fans do every year! They gleefully anticipate “winning it all” with the advent of a new season, a fresh start, and their team happily embedded in first place before the first game ever begins!
Oh how wonderful it would be if life were only like that, we think… A fresh start every day; a clean slate every morning; a new chance to begin again and be better than we were the day before! But God’s people need to do far more than simply think it! They need to understand and internalize the fact that “in Christ” they already possess it (Rom. 8:1-39), and then allow themselves to experience and enjoy it, instead of lamenting how they only wish they had it – because they already do!
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him (Lam. 3:21-25).
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You (Ps. 143:8).
But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy (Ps. 59:16-17).
Every morning we who are “in Christ” awake to live and start over again with a blood-washed, sparkling clean slate and another unfettered chance to try to triumph – a gift from almighty God; a magnificent gift from an all-loving Father, in which we are freed from the shackles of yesterdays’ sins and set free (Jn. 8:31-32; Ro. 8:1-2; 1 Jn. 1:5-9) to take another run at Christ-like holiness (Hebs. 12:12-16; 1 Ptr. 1:13-19) and the eternal and untainted trophy which awaits the faithful and true (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
These imminently-empowering scriptures should perhaps pierce us even more powerfully at this time of year, as we contemplate the irrevocable onslaught of not only another new day, but also of another whole new year – Lord willing that we should all live that long! So tell me God, just what exactly are you planning to do with this great new gift from Him which is about to arrive at your house – Lord willing – in a few days, known as 2016? Will you show God how much you truly appreciate it – and Him as well for being willing to give you such a great gift and one which no one else can? Will you spend more time next year gratefully devoted to attending Bible classes, worship services, gospel meetings, and fellowship and service events than you ever have before? Will you make the choice now, to be more determined than ever to privately study your bible; forgive those who trespass against you; think before you speak; and living what you learn? Will you be more committed in the new year to teaching others – either in or out of church – about the Lord and His great love and compassion for the lost and perishing? Will you be willing to sincerely sacrifice, give more than your money, and actually “get your hands dirty” both for, and with, your brethren, so that the world may know that we truly are His disciples (Jn. 13:1-35)? Will you love, serve, protect, promote and support His precious bride/body/church in all circumstances and despite whatever the personal cost or consequences, just as you were called, cleansed, pardoned and purchased to do (Eph. 2:1-10; Titus 2:6-14)?
Or… dare you even consider treating His precious gift of time, as if it were nothing more than merely trash? Please take a few, precious, God-given minutes right now to read and review Philippians 3 & Ephesians 5, wherein Paul reminds us that it’s supposed to be the other way around. Everything else is supposed to be considered as trash when compared to knowing and serving Christ. Precious, God-given time must not be wasted pursuing earthly things instead of serving Him.
As we all prepare to enter into 2016, may we each truly take to heart and thought, such Scriptures as Matt. 6:33; Mk. 12:30; Lk. 9:23-26; 1 Cor. 6:19-20…