New Commitments in the New Year
By Rev. S. V. Nathan
The New Year 2015 has just dawned, every one of us have lots of hopes and aspirations. The beginning of a New Year is an important time for us to think back over our experiences of the past year as well as look ahead to what the New Year will bring. It is encouraging to see that we made it through 2014. It is also a time to assess areas where we had hoped we would make progress but didn’t quite live up to our aspirations. Perhaps there is something to learn from the hard times and difficulties or even some outright failures that we experienced in our relationships, which has to be set right in this year.
Thus, as we make some resolutions and commitments every New Year, I want you to consider committing two major areas of your life, such as firstly to commit to restore your relationship with God (Matthew 6:33) and secondly to commit to restore your relationship with others (Romans 12:18). Let us ponder over these areas below.
I. Commit to restore your relationship with God (Matthew 6:33a):
In the New Year, while you are thinking about the resolutions or commitments you will make, this is also a good time to put some thought and prayer into your relationship with God, your prayer life, your service, and your giving. The tasks of supporting ourselves and our families, raising and educating our children, taking care of our daily needs, are all vital responsibilities and part of what builds a better future in this life and world; yet we are reminded of what Jesus told His followers: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;”
Making commitments to our relationship with God will make a difference in our daily lives. These commitments will make us more Christ-like in our interactions with others and we will channel greater blessings to our families, friends, and loved ones. For we will become more godly human beings. That’s worth committing to.
Let this New Year be a time to repent and rededicate ourselves to the cause of Christ and the glory of God. It’s a time to kneel on our knees, surrender our will and live out our faith. It’s a time to come before God in worship, giving Him the honor He deserves. This year, it’s time to fix our look on Jesus and live life for Him and Him alone by restoring our relationship with Him.
II. Commit to restore your relationship with others (Romans 12:18):
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Some relationships might have gone wrong in your life because of what other people have done and they might well not want that relationship restored. God recognizes that. But let’s be honest: isn’t it true that some of our relationships have gone wrong because of what we have done? When God’s word says here as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone, it is saying if you have caused a rift in a relationship then you have a responsibility to do everything you can to restore it. This includes the one thing we all probably find most difficult: asking for forgiveness. Many relationships were broken because someone won’t say “I was wrong, I am sorry, will you forgive me” We need to ask forgiveness for “harsh words and cutting remarks” that have wounded others over the years. Maybe God is saying to some of you that this change of year is the right time to restore those relationships you ruined by sincerely saying that you are sorry for those angry words or those selfish and unthoughtful actions.
The New Year is a perfect time to embrace God’s transforming hand in our lives. It might not be quick or easy, but He still transforms our hearts every day. We should not allow our past failures, hurts, and disappointments to keep us from experiencing God’s best for our lives today. For many, their past is holding them hostage. It is a good time now to restore the relationships with others by forgiving and forgetting the past hurt. In essence Paul is saying in (1Tim 1:14) that the “exceedingly abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is available to anyone who wants to “close some doors of past.” God’s grace is as freely available today as then. God’s grace will allow us to move past our failures. If not, our failures may keep us from experiencing God’s best today. Shall we obey God’s word in our life and free ourselves from the bondage?
Tyler Edwards says, “The problem that we are facing in the church today is that we have so many Christians who have made a decision to believe in Jesus but not a commitment to follow Him. We have people who are planning to, meaning to, trying to, wanting to, going to, we just don’t have people who are doing it.” (Tyler Edwards in Zombie Church: Breathing Life Back Into the Body of Christ). Are you one among them? When we commit our resolutions and resources now to the ministry of the Gospel, we impact lives for eternity. Are there earthly concerns distracting you from eternal matters? The New Year is an excellent time to make a commitment to pray each day for God’s help to stay focused on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness—the resolution of all resolutions.
The very purpose of our life on this earth is to glorify Him, thus we should surrender our life, and serve Him by worshipping and proclaiming Him, and by committing our lives to restoring our relationship with the Almighty and with others in order to enjoy His blessings to the fullest. Thus, let us live our earthly life focusing on eternity. Commit more time and find ways to serve in the church, serve the needy and helpless, spend more time in reading and memorizing scriptures, attend prayer meetings regularly, and keep personal and family devotion time regularly. Let us also give more than last year for the extension of God’s Kingdom and participate in the Missions. Let us be a blessing to be blessed. Wishing you all “A Blessed and Christ-Centered New Year 2015”.