January 4, 2012

The Keys For Unlocking Your New Year

The Word

Texts: Isaiah 63:1-4; 43:18-19; Ephesians 5:14; Luke 21:28

How do you approach a new year?

A wise believer comes before the Lord and commits to order his way at the milestone of a new year. There are three unproductive approaches:

1.        The cynic always talks down any good idea because it guarantees he’ll never be disappointed. He also rarely arrives at anything fulfilling.

2.        The passive person just walks through life in a fog and thus arrives at no goal because none were ever set. Where the cynic says nothing will change because there’s a new page on the calendar, the passive person doesn’t even acknowledge the calendar.

3.        The superstitious person gets excited just because it’s a new year. But without plans, and without calling upon the Lord to check the alignment in your life for His purpose, the excitement is really just superstition.

Make your commitment for the New Year by sealing off the past and opening the way for the new in these three productive ways:

1.        Gather to hear the Word of the Lord from out of the Scriptures. What does the Holy Spirit have to say to you?

2.        Respond to that in writing a letter to the Lord. Communicate your heart and feelings, your dreams and goals, your quest to walk in His way.

3.        Come to the Lord’s Table and meet Him at His point of resource and provision.

“The year of My redeemed has come”

This passage (Isaiah 63:1-4) is viewed by many Bible commentators as Messianic. The picture in is similar to Isaiah 59 where the Lord is seen as the intercessor that steps in to provide salvation. On the cross, Jesus bore the brunt of the wrath of God against sin in order that salvation be provided for us instead. His garments are stained with the blood He shed to become our Savior.

The Lord has designed for each of us who come under His mantle as Redeemer a distinct pathway of fruitfulness and meaning in the year that’s before us. But in order for us to walk that way, it’s essential to acknowledge Him (Proverbs 3:6) by :

  • Hearing His Word;
  • Responding to Him in wisdom and obedience; and
  • Turning from things we know aren’t wisdom in His way for us.

Here are three keys to unlocking the new year ahead:

1.        Stop reciting the past

2.        Wake up to your new day

3.        Expect the Lord to come into your world.

Stop reciting the past
Isaiah 43:18-19

The word remember (v. 18) in the Hebrew language involves more than simply an intellectual exercise. Remember in the Hebrew language conveyed the idea of reenacting, not just recalling, as in the annual observance of Passover in which reenactment of deliverance from Egypt took place.

Here it says, don’t remember the former things. People have a horrible tendency to recite and reenact what they’ve been through in the past. That kind of “remembering” reinforces that past and fabricates a structure against the future. It establishes in the present the same difficulties of the past.

“I will make a road in the wilderness” (v. 19). The magnificence of this transcends poetry; it’s the promise of God by His Spirit to bring freshness at steams in the desert, and direction—ways where there is no way.

Wake up to your new day
Ephesians 5:14

There is a lulling to sleep that happens to believers (v. 8) that causes them to become acclimated to the throb of the world’s spirit and accustomed to living in the middle of deadness. We are to come out of that, arise from it (2 Corinthians 6:17).

This is not isolation from the world, or indignation toward it, but identification with Jesus. That we live with Him who is alive and distinct from the world around us. The wake-up call of the Lord to us is:

  • that we not be choked by the things that reduce productivity (Matthew 13:25). The lullaby of the world’s spirit causes some to not be aware that the enemy has sowed your life with weeds, choking out the fruitful wheat of Christ in your life.
  • that we not be burrowed into by worldliness (Matthew 24:43). Wake up because things of the world you allow to invade your home are numbing you to that which will cause your life to count for God’s purpose. What kinds of magazines and movies do you allow in your house? What music bounces off the walls of your car?
  • that we become people of prayer (Jonah 1:6). Wake up fifteen to thirty minutes earlier every day and begin setting your life in order before the Lord in a pattern of prayer. It’s not that you’re insincere or don’t love Jesus; it’s that there are loads of things that will never happen until that happens. There is a world crying out for resource because they don’t have a relationship with the God who can make a difference.

Expect the Lord to come into your world
Luke 21:28

We’re to live as people who expect the return of Jesus. Between the sensationalizing of the coming of Christ and the neglect of the subject there is an area of walking in the vitality of expectancy, at the same time with wisdom and balance.

If you determine now to expect His invasion of your private world in redemptive power, it begins to change your present circumstance from a downcast gaze to looking up. Not just trying to make the best of a bad situation, but holding the promise of the certainty of the entry of His power. When Jesus gives us His Word that the year of His redeemed has come, His power enters our situation. That expectancy will change the stance of your head and the flow of your life.

Living with my eye on a coming Redeemer changes the whole demeanor of my life, and prioritizes what I invest myself in. His promise then becomes the dominant theme of all of my living.

Lift your head upward and say these words:

Jesus, I look toward You as my Coming King. Whenever You return to earth, I want to be ready. In the meantime, I expect Your entry into my life and my circumstance with redeeming power to turn about what the enemy does. I align with You, waking up; I cease being bound by the past, and look up to what You’re going to do today and tomorrow. Amen.