For many years now on the final Sunday of the year I have attempted presenting a message to encourage those who are present at worship to think about how we have lived during the year and what we can do in the New Year to make our lives better.
An outstanding article written by my longtime friend Lance Cordle was the basis for this year’s final Sunday morning message. Lance has been the outstanding preacher for the church in Calvert City, Kentucky for somewhere around twenty-five years now. By the way Lance, if you are reading this, I hear the next lunar eclipse is predicted for January 4 of 2011. (Not as spectacular as the one in the summer of 1981!!)
Because we are human and cannot forget we all will live with some regrets. I have some regrets about the kind of son, brother, husband, and father I have been at times in my life. I have some regrets about the kind of Preacher/teacher, servant, counselor, mentor, and friend I have been. I have some regrets about the way I have dealt with my health, my finances, and most importantly my soul.
While I believe with all of my heart that God has forgiven me where failures have occurred, because of my humanity it is difficult at times for me to forgive myself and to forget. I pray each day that God will help me not to focus on past failures and to live in such a way that failures will be fewer in the future. Some of the thoughts that were presented on Sunday may be of help to you in the New Year.
LIVE LIFE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL. When you study the life of Jesus you can’t help but note how He was more concerned about His Father’s Will than He was His own. A quick glimpse of the following verses in John’s account of the Gospel reveals the attitude of Christ. (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:28; 9:4)
The goal of every child of God is to be like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 2:5; Galatians 4:19; 1 Peter 2:21). If that is in fact our goal we will want to know God’s Will for our lives and we will be more interested in His Will than we are our own. We should seek His Will when it comes to our spiritual walk, our relationships, our finances, our family life, and every other aspect of our lives.
LIVE LIFE WITH COMMITMENT. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all of these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) Our primary commitments in this life should be to Glorify the Lord by the way we live, growing in our faith (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18), and a strong commitment to our family (Ephesians 5:23-6:4).
This kind of commitment will motivate us to live every moment for the Glory of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). It will bring about a greater understanding of the abundant life that Jesus brings to us (John 10:10).
LIVE LIFE FORGIVING & ACCEPTING FORGIVENESS. One reason so many of us struggle with regrets is the fact that we have such difficulty accepting God’s forgiveness. We know in our head that God has forgiven us (Romans 4:7; Colossians 2:14: 1 John 1:9). However knowing in our head we are forgiven and being able to accept that forgiveness in our heart are two very different matters.
Perhaps our inability to accept God’s forgiveness is because of lack of forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Jesus said that we should forgive others just as we have been forgiven (Matthew 6:12-14; Ephesians 4:32).
Refusal to forgive others or ourselves keeps us from becoming everything that Jesus wants us to be. Refusing to forgive promotes bitterness, anger, hatred, and a general state of lethargy in our spiritual walk.
Forgiving others and accepting the forgiveness that God has given us will help us live in the New Year with fewer regrets. Those of us who are Preachers and leaders in the church should model for others what it means to live with fewer regrets.
Dear Father in Heaven, as we close the chapter on the old year and open the fresh pages of the New Year help us to be committed to live lives in accordance with Your Will. Help us dear God to be committed to live in such a way that we will bring Glory to You in every aspect of our lives. Father, we pray that we will be able to accept the forgiveness that You have offered and that we will be more willing to forgive others. We pray that the New Year will be a better year for all of us as we seek to glorify You in our lives. In the wonderful Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.