Each New Year most of us trot out a “to do” list called
“resolutions.” I like being different so
I would like to offer for your pleasure, stimulation, or angst the following
New Year’s Revelations. These are for
the Christian who seeks to make better use of his/her time and gifts in the New
Year. Following are ten things you will
not succeed at in 2014. Don’t waste your
time. Intrigued? Great, let’s get started.
will not hinder God’s will in 2014.
Fully five of Paul’s letters in the New Testament contain
the phrase “an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” A lot of people neither liked nor trusted
Paul. Many refused to acknowledge his
calling as an Apostle. That didn’t stop
Paul. God willed him to be an Apostle
and it really didn’t matter who opposed it.
God’s will was for Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the
world. It didn’t matter that the
religious establishment of Christ’s day neither wanted nor believed it. God’s will was done. You cannot stop what God wants to happen for
anyone…except yourself. What a
tremendous waste of time and resources to try to hinder what God wills and
ordains. Don’t know what that might be? Pick up your Bible and you’ll find out.
will not change anyone but yourself this year.
You long for your spouse to change. Maybe it’s your boss you hope will change
this year. Certainly you are hoping the
President will change. The truth is, we
are all hoping that anyone and everyone who isn’t on the same page we are will
change, and soon. Don’t waste your time
trying to make it happen. Change comes
from within and the inner person is the purview of God. You can point the way (and if love is
compelling you then you should) but you cannot effect the change. You will not be able to change people that
hate you, your ideology, and/or your religious beliefs. You will save yourself a lot of time and
trouble if you focus on changing what you can…yourself.
will not be able to avoid being confronted by evil in the coming year.
So many Christians spend their year in hiding. Hiding from politics. Hiding from gay activism. Hiding from bullies in the world and
sometimes even in the Church. Don’t make
the terrible mistake of thinking you, your family, or even your church won’t
come face to face with the horror and ugliness of sin this year. Evil seeks out good…to spoil it. It will show up when and where you least
expect. Don’t be naïve by being shocked,
surprised, or stunned when all hell breaks loose in your midst. Prepare yourself for it. There is a reason the Apostle Paul advised,
“be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
will not be able to avoid being confronted by the truth.
Truth is not relative despite what the pluralists say. It is not one thing for one person and
another thing for someone else. What
makes the truth the truth is a) it’s universality and b) it’s permanence. Gravity is the truth for everyone and it won’t
change for anyone on earth. There is not
one truth for Americans and a different one for Asians. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the
life…” (John 14:6). Hebrews 13:8 says,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” There is not one Jesus for antiquity and
another for modernity. The Jesus of
yesterday who said, “go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11) to the woman
caught in sexual sin is the same Jesus saying the same thing today. Mores
in society and culture trend as the political winds tend to blow. The truth doesn’t. The truth remains unmoved and unchanged. Embrace it or be broken by it. But you will not avoid it.
will not not sin in 2014.
I know, it’s not good grammar but you get the point. It is the height of arrogance to think you
will do nothing this year to offend the holiness of God. This revelation is not an excuse for or a
license to sin. It is an alert. Good evangelical bible-thumping Christian
congregations are full of people who haven’t dropped to their knees in
repentance for a long long time. How can
that be? Is repentance just for people
coming into the Kingdom of God? Does
salvation mean we are incapable of committing sin? We should remember the words of John when he
wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in
us” (1 John 1:8). Yet repenting of our
sins has seemingly become unfashionable in our churches today. Too many Christians go to church seeking
affirmation rather than cleansing. Plan
on hitting your knees this year…often.
will not prevent God from exposing sin in you and righteousness in your
Every Christian needs to search their souls concerning the
following question: Can you serve a God who will forgive those you don’t? Can we even fathom the implications of that
question? Why would God forgive someone
who has done evil to me or my family? In
even asking that question, did I just sin?
How could there be anything even remotely righteous in the one(s) who
oppose me? One of the major complaints
Jesus’ detractors had against Him was “Why does your teacher eat with tax
collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11).
Not everything you do is righteous and not everything your enemies do is
unholy. Prepare for God to see good in
what you don’t and evil in what you think is just fine.
will not get all your questions answered in the coming months.
Something (or even many things) will happen this year (just
as it did last year) that you will not be able to work out in the logic of your
faith. “Why did God let that happen?”
will jump from your soul and out of your lips before you even realize it. Will you allow all those sermons, Sunday
School lessons, and devotional readings about faith to support you during times
of crisis or is all that out the window when it happens to you? Is there even an answer that God could
possibly give when you ask “Why?” that would suffice and make everything
better? I think not. When that “thing” happens to you this year
you are going to have to trust God.
Trusting God is dull, boring, and doesn’t help the pain or confusion but
it is the central theme of the Bible.
Remember, “we know that for those who love God all things work together
for good…” (Romans 8:28).
will not be right all year long.
This is similar to #5 above but the emphasis here is on the
head rather than the heart. If you get
all the way to December 31, 2014 without saying, “I’m sorry” to someone you
will have left a trail of tears and destruction behind you throughout the
year. No matter how nice or smart you
are you will never be always right. This
is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:1 when He talked about judging
others. If you are going to assert that
you did not do anything worthy of an apology to anyone all year long then get
ready, because that is the standard God is going to dole out to you!
will not be wrong all year long.
Sometimes we find ourselves surrounded by naysayers who make
us feel like we haven’t done anything right or good and are absolutely
incapable of doing anything right! Don’t
believe it! Every time you lift your
voice in praise to God you have done something right. Every time you bow your head in sincere
prayer you have done something worthy of recognition in Heaven. Every time you open the Bible and read you
are doing something right and good.
will not be able to prevent eternal consequences for the things you let stand
If a hard heart chooses not to repent of sin this year,
there will be an eternal consequence for it.
There will also be eternal consequences for acknowledging and responding
to the truth that others ignore.
Refusing to believe Jesus died for your enemies will bring one sort of
eternal consequence your way. Making an
unpopular stand against evil will bring another kind of eternal consequence
Here is a small tidbit of information for you if you think
this list of 10 revelations is a bit burdensome and overwhelming. All you really have to do this year to
prevent doing these ten things is this: love God with your whole heart and love
your neighbor as yourself. Two is less
complicated than ten. God bless.
Ray Rooney, Jr.