New Year – New You?

Start Anew

2 Cor 5:17-21 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself throught Christ and gave us the miistry of reconciliation:  that Gpd was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins agains them.  Ane he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are, therefore, Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become righteousness of God.”

Here we are at the start of a new year. New is the optimal word. People crave for new things these days, especially as the holidays wind down and we begin a whole new year.
• New phones, new cars, clothes, hairstyles, and even a new face.
• Go for plastic surgery to get a new nose, new ear, new look, new body…

Especially during New Year, we want to set new goals, new resolutions, make more money…….Anything that is external, we are ready to change to new. . That’s what we can change. And it’s simple or is it?

• But we cannot CHANGE us – the real me! I can change my clothes but it’s still me.
• I can get a new hairdo, but it would still be me.
• I carry with me the same old handicaps, worries, fears… same sadness and miseries.
• No amount of new gadgets, clothes, things can really give me what my heart longs for.

WHY?   Because what we need are not new things, but a new life.   We can have many new things but we cannot have a new life, unless we come to or come back to or focus our lives more on Christ.

The Bible says only in Jesus Christ can we have a NEW LIFE – a new creation.   It’s not an EXTERNAL change – I still look the same. It is internal.   I experience God’s love, joy, peace, and hope. These inspire me.   People may not be able to see all these things. The person who looks gorgeous on the outside may be a miserable soul. The one who looks shabby may be one of the happiest people around.

So before we are too drawn away by the sights and sounds of this world, ask yourself – .” Do I want to be really happy in life?”  Well,  try getting to know Jesus more.    Hang on to Jesus.

John 10:10  says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus refers to an abundant life, a full life. In John 17:3 He says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Man has made great improvements over the Centuries. The speed at which we are gaining knowledge is amazing. Half of all that we learn in the history of mankind was acquired in the last 10 years! We have made great strides in education, science, technology – the new gadgets we have.   Yet life has not been better. Life is made easy but not better.  We live with the same worries and fears, probably MORE.   We worry about not having enough; we fear being diagnosed with cancer of some kind; we have relationship problems – at school, at home, at work, even among courting friends.   We have more broken families today, a growing number of suicides and divorces today than ever.   And we see more violence. In many communities, there are actually anti-terrorism drills.   Life has not improved.   Why?

Because man has fallen away from God.

So if you really want a good life – get back to Jesus. Talk to Him, and keep talking to Him. Jesus will make you NEW.

It’s like an old house – He did not renovate it, He rebuilt it. Jesus describes in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” He was talking about himself but also talking TO us.   The life we have in Christ is an entirely NEW creation.

Here is a lovely story of a simple, illiterate man who was converted through the work of the Salvation Army. (Bat will love this story.)   He went regularly to the Salvation Army citadel. One day he came home rather disconsolate.   His wife said, “What’s the matter?”  He said, “I’ve just noticed that all the people in the Salvation Army wear red sweaters, and I don’t have a red sweater.”   She said, “I’ll knit one.” So she knitted him a red sweater.  The next Sunday after he went to the citadel, he still wasn’t happy.
His wife said, “What’s wrong this time?”   He said, “I just noticed all their red sweaters have yellow writing.”   They were both illiterate, but she said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll embroider some writing on it for you.” She had no idea what the yellow writing on the red sweater of a Salvation Army man said.  The man’s wife had no idea what the letters said, and she couldn’t read anyway. So copying a sign from a store window opposite their home, she embroidered the words of that store sign onto his red sweater.
When he came back the next Sunday, she said, “Did they like your sweater?”
“They loved my sweater. Some of them smiled at me when they saw my sweater.”
What neither of them knew was that the sign on the store window she had copied read,  UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.
                           from…Stuart Briscoe, “Christmas 365 Days a Year,” Preaching Today

We don’t really need better gadgets, better things, or better programs.   We need JESUS.  Make this one of your resolutions this year – get to know Him better. Spend time with Him . We want to remind ourselves to stay close to God, and encourage one another to do so.

Heb 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Now, we need to do this for our sake. We need to stay close to God. We need to nurture our life in Christ.– and only in church and/or Christian Fellowships can we find this.  Outside, we can only nurture our OLD LIFE – which is to eat, sleep and be merry. (And then you die.)

And don’t look for peace in this world – you are looking at the wrong places.   We have joy – because the Lord is with us, not because our circumstances are good.   We have peace – because the Lord lives in our heart, not because there is no trouble around us. We have hope – because the Lord guides us, not because of our wisdom and strength through Him..

As Christians, we have a lifetime goal. This is a resolution for life!   The world must know. And now we must tell them.  C. S. Lewis says, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.”

What are you living for? Every year, during the New Year, we wish that everything will be new and good.  We’ve already passed so many New Years.  Are we better off today? What we need – cannot be found in this world.  We need a new life, because we’re in sin. We need a Savior; and that Savior is Jesus Christ.

Dear friends, the Bible says, you need to be reconciled with God, your Creator.  The man who is in Christ will experience newness of life!   You need to put your trust in Jesus. You need to rely upon Him.

Man has been trying – by their own efforts – to do right and live right.  But the Bible says we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.   By our own efforts, we can never be good enough.   No amount of change can truly improve our lives.  No amount of education can give us a good life. We need a change of heart.

We need the forgiveness of our sins. We need a NEW life. Only Jesus Christ can do that.  Believe Him today.

Happy New Year! Live it ~ with and for Christ .


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