A NEW YEAR MESSAGE

At every moment of our lives a new opportunity, a new potential, a new responsibility, a new gift stand before us.

The big question is ‘What are we going to do with it? What are we going to do with the moment, the day, the year that God grants to us?’

Are we going to use it for good, or for evil?
Are we going to allow the darkness to dominate it, or the light?
Are we going to allow God’s truth to determine our perceptions, or Satan’s lies?

Will we fill it with faith, or with unbelief?
Will we colour it with hope, or with despair?
Will we load it with forgiveness or revenge?
Will we live in it with freedom, or in bondage?

Are we anticipating it with joy and peace, or with fear and dread?

The world we live in is a lost and broken world. The high expectations of secular humanism are continually voided by current events. The utopia of present health and wealth promised by some Christian teachers and so-called prophets and apostles repeatedly fails to eventuate.

Evil and darkness and deception dominate. There is good reason for unbelief, despair, bondage, fear and dread as we face a new year, as we face a new day, even as we face the next moment. As Paul says ‘the days are evil’ [Ephesians 5:16].

But there is something else he says in this verse. He has just said in verse 15 ‘Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise’ then in verse 16 ‘making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.’ The King James translation more accurately translates the Greek ‘redeeming the time’. The verb is exagorazo. It means to buy out, to buy back, to ransom.

And here is the challenge, no, the command of God for us as we face the new year: that we should be redeeming every moment from the evil and the darkness and the deception that dominate it.

What does this mean, this ‘buying back the time’?

The fact that we have to ‘buy’ it back means that it will cost us, it will not necessarily be easy. Such is always the case with redemption. Are we not redeemed with ‘the precious blood of Christ’? [1Peter 1:19]. With great determination he deliberately came and died to redeem us.

Now we who have been redeemed at great cost are commanded to ‘redeem the time’ – with similar decision and determination to set this moment where we are, this hour where we are, this year where we are, free from the evil, the darkness and the deception, and from the despair that accompanies them.

Wherever we are we will do good, not evil.
Wherever we are we will shine God’s light, not the darkness.
Wherever we are we will believe and speak God’s truth, not the deceptions of the evil one.
Wherever we are we will live with faith, not unbelief.
Wherever we are we will live with sure and certain hope in God, not despair.
Wherever we are we will live in God’s forgiveness, not in guilt and condemnation.
Wherever we are we will forgive, not seek retribution.
Wherever we are we will live in freedom as God’s child, not as slaves of sin and Satan.
Wherever we are we will live with joy and peace, not in fear and dread of God’s judgment.

So that this moment, this day, this year in which we personally live, will glorify God, not the evil one.  

© Rosemary Bardsley 2014