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What Shall We Do With a New Year

Paul admonished the Corinthians to "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5). As we come to the end of the year, it is good to refl ect on our accomplishments and failures of the past year so that we make resolve or purpose to do better in the New Year than in the past. It has been said, "That those who fail to plan, plan to fail."

With this thought in mind, let us "examine ourselves" and consider what we shall do with a New Year. A year is a defi nite period of time. 2011 will be composed of 52 weeks and 365 days. If we are allowed to live through these weeks and days they will either be used for our good or our detriment. Many have entered years of the past to have only used the year to wander away from God and are no longer pleasing to Him. I want to suggest five ways that we can make the "new year" a good year and a blessing to us spiritually.

Grow Spiritually – In Knowledge – In Grace

The necessity of growing spiritually as Christians is important (Hebrews 5:11-14). In order to grow spiritually, we must determine to be faithful in our attendance in the services of the church. We must learn the value of taking time to study God's word with other Christians and receiving encouragement from others as well as extending encouragement to others. If we are to grow spiritually, we must be present when the local church of which we are a member assembles (Hebrews 10:23-25).

We will not grow in knowledge and in grace when we place our jobs or other activities in front of our "assembling together" in order to be exhorted and to exhort and encourage others in love and good works. But spiritual growth also requires our participation in home Bible studies with others and the study of God's word on our own. Christians should be like the Bereans who "searched the scriptures daily" (Acts 17:11). Let us make time in our schedules this year to be pre-set at assemblies and Bible class periods, to participate in home Bible studies and to make time for personal Bible study at home. We make time for everything that we deem as important, and without a doubt there is nothing more important than doing those things which will help us to be faithful and grow spiritually.

Grow Deeper In Our Worship

One reason why we do not grow spiritually is because we lack depth in our worship. Many look at worship as just putting only enough time as necessary. As we think about this let me ask, "How many of the 8,760 hours this year will we spend in our worship—both public and private?" Some may think 52 hours a year is enough.

But, if one works 40 hours a week for a year, they will spend 2,080 in their work. We must understand the value in study, prayer, teaching in song, in giving and reflecting upon God's will and His marvelous grace. Reflecting on our worship and putting the meaning in it that we should will help our perspective and help us to overcome sin and draw closer to God.

To Grow In Our Service To Others

Selfishness is condemned in the scriptures. Remember the rich fool in Luke 12, who was blessed with abundance in his harvest, but was condemned for thinking of self and not remembering God or others. Again, in Matthew 25:31-46, we have the judgment scene pictured and those that were condemned were those who had not remembered others when they had the opportunity to assist. The life of a Christian should be a life of putting God first, others second and self third (Matthew 6:33; Philippians 2:3-4). Let each of us determine to look upon the needs of others in the coming year. Let us truly exemplify Christ living in us as we forget about ourselves and look for opportunities to help others; physically and spiritually (Matthew 26:39).

To Make Our Homes As God Desires

If we are to have good homes in the world in which we live we must make them as God would have them. God is the designer of the home and He is the authority for how the home is to be ordered. We must determine as husbands, wives, and children to be what the scriptures teach us about our place in the home.

Make Our Lives Pleasing To God

We must make sure our lives are what God would be pleased with. If we have not done the things to bring about the forgiveness of our sins and reconciling us to God then we must do that immediately. We all must resolve to make our lives a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). Let us determine to use what time we have in the "new year" to grow spiritually, deepening worship, grow in service to others, and to make our homes and lives pleasing to God. Let us do all that we can in 2011 for the cause of Christ and for the work we have been given to do. Let us all determine to use the "new year" for our good.