Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Year, New You - how to put the past behind you

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New Year’s resolutions are no longer popular. This is partly because many people reckon that they would break them in the first twenty-four hours and so it seems easier not to make any at all. But I guess we shouldn’t let the possibility of defeat cause us to give up the fight altogether, before we’ve even begun. It is sometimes said that if you aim for nothing in particular, that’s exactly what you’ll achieve!

The question remains, however, how should we respond when we fail again to achieve our goals and aspirations. The Bible’s answer is to remind us that God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love… He does not deal with us according to our sins. … As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion on those who fear him. …” The God of the Bible is someone who gives us a first, second, third, fourth chance and more, when we cry out to Him. Failure in God’s eyes is not grounds for rejection or abandonment. Rather, it’s an occasion for Him to pour out His steadfast love found in Jesus Christ. It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul (a former murderer) could write:

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Such confidence and future hope (despite a messy past) only makes sense if the good news of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection are true. If the Gospel record about Jesus is false then we have no hope and each of us faces a bleak and anguished future in an eternal hell. As someone has put it “No Jesus = No life” but, “knowing Jesus = knowing life” – eternal life. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ gives us the confidence to put the past behind us and to look forward with great hope to that great and awesome Day when Christ returns.

So, rather than dwell on past failures and disappointments, why not bring them to Christ seeking His forgiveness and peace? Come along to church to find out more (Matthew 11:28) and don’t let your past distract you. Your past is past. Today is a brand new year!

Magazine article for January 2017 AD the Benefice of East Dean, Friston & Jevington

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