New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. The “Top Ten” resolutions people throughout the world make are:
- Spend More Time with Family & Friends.
- Fit in Fitness.
- Tame the Bulge.
- Quit Smoking.
- Enjoy Life More.
- Quit Drinking.
- Get Out of Debt.
- Learn Something New.
- Help Others.
- Get Organized.
Not only do we all make New Year’s Resolutions, but, we all proceed to break them, perhaps deterring us from make new resolutions ever again. As far as I know, I’ve only been able to keep one New Year’s Resolution in my life; I made it 25 years ago, it was to never make another New Year’s Resolution. And, 25 years later, I continue to keep it.
Now, I don’t want to sound cynical to you, the reader, as you are focused on setting and keeping resolutions and goals for the New Year. Resolutions and goals programs are great if they result in getting us where we want to end up. But the facts show us that a high percentage of people make and then break their resolutions shortly into the New Year. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”
I bring up this “insane” cycle that people go through every New Year to say; “My friends, we have a great opportunity before us!” All around the world, people are assessing the past year and are looking for ways to change the way they live. They are setting new goals to live differently; to be a better person; to give up bad habits and start new good ones; they are open to the spiritual side of life. And they are open to have someone; anyone, show them how to do it when their New Year’s resolutions fail and they return to life as it was before January 1st. People are waiting for someone to give them answers. We know that only Jesus can bring real changes. It is time for us to no longer be ashamed of the Gospel knowing that it is the only power to change their lives. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
My question to you today is, “Are you available to be used by God to those around you who are looking for concrete ways to change; available to introduce them to the only One who can bring lasting and eternal changes to their lives?” Or, have you so planned your life that you fail to believe what God might do through you? Do you anticipate God changing you? Shifting you? Preparing you to be an ambassador for the King?
1Corithians 2:9 says; “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Did you catch that? Not only have we not seen what God has prepared for us or how He wants to use us, but it has not even entered into our hearts! We haven’t thought it before! In other words we haven’t seen anything yet!
Something that has been resounding in my spirit lately is the thought that on the Day of Pentecost, 120 frightened believers absorbed 3000 in one day. My guess is that those who were gathered in the Upper Room; as recorded by Luke in Acts 2 had no idea of what was awaiting them when they stepped outside; or when they gathered inside the upper room for that matter. Something changed in their lives that affected 3000 people.
What about you? You can try as hard as you can; resolve to change with all your might, but real change can only take place when you allow the Holy Spirit to change you. The Power of the Holy Spirit will transform you. Did you notice what it did in the Apostle Peter’s life; this uneducated fisherman? Suddenly Peter was transformed and understood God’s purpose, God’s Word, and understood the ministry of Jesus. Suddenly, Peter had boldness. Suddenly, this transformation was confirmed with signs and wonders. Wow! That is the change that people are looking for as they pursue a new life in this New Year! How about you?
My exhortation to you is that you ask the Holy Spirit to transform you; to make a resolution to let Him be your Senior Partner in all you do this year. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. To ask the Holy Spirit to make you bold with the purpose of God as His ambassador and watch how He will use you; even today!
Our religion is like fire, again, because of its tremendous energy and its rapid advance. Who shall be able to estimate the force of fire? Our forefathers standing on this side of the river, as they gazed many years ago upon the old city of London wrapped in flame, must have wondered with great astonishment as they saw cottage and palace, church and hall, monument and Cathedral, all succumbing to the tongue of flame. It must be a wonderful sight, if one could safely see it, to behold a prairie rolling along its great sheets of flame or to gaze upon Vesuvius when it is spouting away at its utmost force. When you deal with fire, you cannot calculate; you are among the imponderables and the immeasureables. I wish we thought of that when we are speaking of religion. You cannot calculate concerning its spread. How many years would it take to convert the world? asks somebody. Sir, it need not take ten minutes, if God so willed it; because as fire, beyond all reckoning, will sometimes, when circumstances are congenial, suddenly break out and spread, so will truth. Truth is not a mechanism – and does not depend upon engineering. A thought in one mind, why not the same thought in fifty? That thought in fifty minds, why not in fifty thousand? The truth which affects a village, and stirs it from end to end, why not a town, a city, why not a nation? Why not all nations? God may, when he wills it, bring all human minds into such a condition that one single text such as this,”This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acception, the Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,” may set all hearts on a blaze . . . I can believe anything about fire. Let a man tell me that in a house just now a bundle of rags have begun to burn; let him tell me in five minutes that the shop is on fire; let him tell me in five minutes more that it is blazing through the shutters, or that the next story is burning, or that the roof is coming in, I could believe it all. Fire can do anything. So with the gospel of Jesus; given but an earnest preacher, given but the truth fully declared, given an earnest people, determined to propagate the gospel, and I can understand a nation converted to God, ay, and all the nations of the earth suddenly shaken with the majesty of truth.
-C.H.Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons Preached and Revised by C.H. Spurgeon During the Year 1869, pp. 81-82