As we begin a New Year, we usually look back for a moment, then look ahead to begin planning for a New Year. We look back only briefly to see what the Lord has done in this closing year, and then give Him the praise for all that He’s done. As we look ahead, we pray and begin planning for His will and all that He shows us to do.
The good thing about starting a new year and turning the page on the calendar is that we get to have a fresh start and a clean slate. Many people make resolutions, or set goals, and I’ve heard it said many times before --- New Year, New You. There’s nothing wrong with resolutions, or making goals like resolving to lose weight, save more money, or simply be nicer.
I believe the Lord has given us a fresh idea for the New Year, and therefore, a specific instruction for this year. The phrase I believe I heard was, New Year - Knew You. At the end of this New Year of 2017, who is going to say that they knew you? In other words, we all have a new year before us, so what are we going to do with it? Who will we impact in such a positive way that they will praise the Lord that they knew you and me? Are we going to put the Lord first, and therefore, put OTHERS before ourselves, and set out to make a difference in the lives of OTHERS, which will make a huge impact on this world for the Kingdom of God and it will then make a difference in our lives!
As I’ve said many times in my preaching, your life is not even about you. What? That’s right! Through the eyes of the Lord, we’re given one life to live and that life is to increase, impact and enrich the lives of others. We have a song that we’ve been singing with children for many years, called “J is for Jesus”. It simply teaches them that the word JOY, is spelled, J-O-Y. J is for Jesus, O is for others, and Y is for You. If we put the Lord Jesus first in our lives, then others, and then ourselves last, we will have the joy of the Lord, which is our strength!
Notice that this is the opposite of what the world teaches. Even in the business world, you need to step on the person below you to rise up the corporate ladder. That is why the Apostle Paul told Timothy that in the last days, men would be “lovers of their own selves”. He knew that in the days we are now living, people would be very selfish, and mostly interested in their own lives, plans and how to make their own lives better.
God’s ways are NOT our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) He wants us to lay our lives down for Him, even as He laid His own life down for us. (John 3:16) Jesus told His disciples that if anyone asks them to walk a mile so they don’t walk alone, then walk two miles. This is where we get the saying to “go the extra mile” for someone. It simply means to go above and beyond for others, and care about others so that we are willing to help others, even before we help ourselves.
We know that the days we are living in are seemingly dark days and even evil days, but the Lord wants us to INVADE the darkness with His Glorious Light! How do we do that? By living our lives for the Lord and for others! When it came to the Good Samaritan, everyone else walked on by, but he TOOK THE TIME to stop and help. Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day, but I hear SO MANY people talk about how busy they are. You know what? We’re all busy! Do you want to impact someone this year for eternity? It doesn’t mean that you have to be a preacher, maybe you just need to give someone a hug, or simply a phone call. At the end of this New Year, who’s going to be so grateful to the Lord that they KNEW YOU?