Reflections on the Word: A new year or a new life?
January 1, 2017
Today millions will be looking for a new start. They will make New Year's resolutions, set goals, make promises and begin hoping this year will bring some needed change or a better life. By this time next week the vast majority of those resolutions will be broken and those goals shattered. Disappointment and discouragement will set in and the patterns and habits of life will resurface.
Why is it so hard to change? New life is not found in our willpower or our desire to transform our lives. Although we can sometimes see significant change, we find ourselves coming up short of the change we really want. New life is found in a person!
We just celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus made several statements about why He came to earth and what His appearing has to do with the new life we are seeking. John 10:10 says "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 11:25 says "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.'" John 14:6 says "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" John 6:63 says "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."
The apostle John also spoke about what Jesus came to do. John 1:1-14 says "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name — who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
John spoke about a new life a life brought about by being born again. The apostle Paul explains in II Cor 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
The prophet Zechariah made it clear it's not about how much willpower or stubbornness we have, or even how committed we are. It takes the Spirit of the Lord. If you want real change that will last for eternity, it is only available by placing your trust in the work done on the cross. John said to all who received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. There is no greater gift ever given.
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Zechariah 4:6 says "So he answered and said to me: 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the Lord of hosts.'"
Let this not be just a new year, but a new life. It is yours if you ask for it. If you need help, call me or one of my pastor friends. We will gladly be there for you.
Pastor Leo Kruger of Valley Christian Fellowship is a member of Carson Valley Ministers' Association.