Ray Rooney, Jr.: Ten New Year’s Revelations
Friday, January 03, 2014 4:54 PM

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. 

You 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. 

You 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.

You 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).

You 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.

You 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.

You will not prevent God from exposing sin in you and righteousness in your enemies. 

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.

You 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).

You 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!

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.

You will not be able to prevent eternal consequences for the things you let stand in 2014.

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 your way. 

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.