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Every year has its beginning and end, and here we are, stepping into 2023. As in so many other years, a whole lot of New Year’s resolutions will be made, most especially to lose weight. Knowing this, advertisements which just a few short weeks ago barked out sales of every holiday food and drink imaginable morph into guilting and shaming campaigns luring the “fattened” masses to try numerous dietary fads, foods, pills, and so on. With the exception of MLK Day, the holiday season for now is ending. Folks are coming back home and returning to work. Students are going back to school, or college, or university. The bills from the past holiday season are coming home to roost. Income tax time looms on the horizon. Various states’ legislatures go into a new session to make more legal sausage. A lot of other things happen when a new year arrives, but in all of it there seems to be a humdrum predictability. At least, that is true for many, but not always.



There are those who are moving into a new year having had great success in 2022. Will it be the same or better this time? Others, coping with losses, are entering the next frame in history’s show having lost things, pets, or loved ones. A number feel that the future is uncertain. And what of us who are Christians? Like everyone and everything else in all of creation, we are subject to time as long as we are in this world. The forgiveness of our sins gave us eternal life, but it did not take aging and death from our bodies. Therefore, as long as we are still living in this world, we plan just like others do. In fact, we are to be cognizant of the fact that neither are our lives lengthy nor is tomorrow guaranteed:




Psalm 90:10:  The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a:  To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die;…

James 4:13-15:  Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

It is also helpful for us as believers if we take inventory of our lives regularly, including at the end of the year. We can do this for our regular living, but certainly it should be done as far as our walk with the Lord is concerned. Did we set goals? If so, did we achieve them or not? Have we grown spiritually this past year? Whether we achieved our goals or not, what can we do to improve in 2023? Are there new goals to be set? Are there things to be ended and let go of? Healthy self-examination such as this helps us to be better Christians. We are more aware of our strengths, our weaknesses, our accomplishments, and what we failed to achieve. Input from other mature believers is useful also, as godly accountability also makes us stronger



In all this reflecting and resetting, it is okay to be pleased with your personal victories, but do not camp out there. As for missed goals, learn what went wrong and address it, then move on. Do not get bogged down in either your successes or your failures in the past year. Instead take note of the way the apostle Paul learned to live his life:



Philippians 3:7-14:  But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

While Paul lived in the world, dealing with the temporary, his eyes were ever on the eternal, including finishing his course victoriously and obtaining Heavenly rewards (Matthew 24:13; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

He lived for Jesus Christ and fulfilled the ministry that the Lord called him to, aiming to improve as a Christian not just at the start of a new year, nor even at the start of a new month or a new week, but daily (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 15:31).

Here is yet another good motivation for us:

Ephesians 5:15-16:  See that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

The time that could be lost to evil purposes and idleness we are to take as our own and use every opportunity that it affords to do good. We are salt and light to a lost and dying world, charged to share the Gospel (Matthew 5:13-16, 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

This and other things we are to do as Christians, such as read the Word of God and pray, are to be done daily. There is no waiting for a new year to do this and then making it out as a new year’s resolution.  This is a continuing lifestyle.  However, if you have not been regular in living your life as a solid disciple of Jesus Christ, now is a good time to start. The beginning of a new year is a natural focal point for the saved and the lost alike to make plans and set goals.

So having said all this, is it wrong to set goals at the start of each new year? Of course not. A number of believers do this. What we are to do, though, is incorporate such planning in the ongoing course of living for the Lord. There are many churches and ministries which have watch services in which they praise and worship, pray the new year in, and then praise and worship some more and perhaps even share a meal. The start of a new year is a good time to thank God for giving you more time to live. Although we are heaven-bound, our life here is nonetheless a gift from the Lord (Isaiah 38:1-21).

It is also a chance to do more things to help others and to enjoy life. Just as many of us experience the passing away of loved ones, friends, and even pets, we also see regularly in the news each year the passing away of the rich, the famous, and the powerful. Solomon said it well:

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12:  I returned and saw under the sun that—the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.

As each year arrives, it is one year closer to whatever time God decides for the Rapture to come. Although only our Father in heaven knows when that day will be, we can recognize the season of Christ’s imminent return and we should be ready (Matthew 24:36-44).
Meanwhile, move forward, live your life, live for Jesus, and from us at It Ain’t Over Ministries, happy New Year!

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