Happy New Year. January marks the beginning of a new year, and Almighty God has blessed us with the opportunity to begin anew in 2013. By his grace, we can begin this new year with Christ. God has granted us a new start so that all we did not accomplish in 2012 we are able to do this year.
No matter how many resolutions we may make or how many goals we may seek to achieve, they really cannot be accomplished without Christ. Our flesh is weak, and if we are not careful, we will repeat some of the same bad habits that caused us pain and misery in 2012. We will continue to make those bad choices and poor decisions unless we put Christ first. We have to let go of the things that have hampered our growth. All of us have done things last year that we need not repeat. Perhaps we said something that hurt someone; it is even possible that some things were said to us that caused us pain, but let go and let God.
In the words of the apostle Paul, we have to press toward the goal and high mark of Christ Jesus. Paul writes in the book of Philippians, 3:13-14 these words, “But I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Jesus Christ is calling us.” Paul’s words are deep and profound, for there are some things we have to forget. Last year is gone and there is nothing we can do about it, but thanks be unto God for this new year full of blessings. There is nothing we cannot achieve through Christ Jesus, our Lord, for the Word says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
As this new year unfolds, commit yourself to be “Fired Up for Jesus,” ready to go; ready to press your way regardless of any obstacles that may get in your way. Commit yourself to use this year to the glory of God. Stay focused, think positive and seize the blessings God has waiting for you. Be consistent in your prayer life; develop a stronger faith; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; live with integrity and honor; let your life count for something; stay away from negative people and surround yourself with people of like minds who want to make a difference with their lives; and have the attitude of Christ. Knowing Christ and living for Christ is priceless; let him reign in your life. It is extremely important that we focus on those things which are true and honorable to God. Shine brightly for Christ that others will know you have been with him and he has been with you. Take the time to thank God for another year, and live it in such a way that God will get the glory out of your life and all those round you will be edified.
I have written on several occasions in this column of my love for butterflies, as they represent new life. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creature — old things are passed away and all things are new. Yes, in January we can even envision the beauty of a butterfly representing newness — from a cocoon to a beautiful insect. God can turn the heavy burdens of the past into the joys of our present circumstances. I pray you are blessed with the beauty of God in 2013, just remember to begin this year with Christ and end with Christ. Make every day count. Begin each day to make it awesome; live, love, enjoy laughter, embrace your family and celebrate your friends. Above all, walk with God and let Him walk with you; when you do, you will experience the ultimate joy that only Christ can give.
Rev. Charles W. Quann is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Montgomery County.