"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it." - 1 Corinthians 9:24
The New Year signals for us the start of another chapter in our lives. Some of us might feel like 2017 was a bad year, while some might consider it a good year. 2018, however, is a different thing - it hasn't started yet, and so we can make the best start to have the best year ahead of us.
That said, I would like to offer you, dear reader, a few ways to start the year right. While the common saying " it doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish" might be true, it's always better to start well. After all, the Bible did say that we should "run in such a way" that would obtain the prize that God has prepared at the finish line.
And that prize is Him saying "well done, good and faithful servant" (see Matthew 25:23).
Start the year right
To help you start your year right, I'd like to share a few good and Godly choices or decisions that you can make.
1) Choose to release all your hurts and glory from the past year
Did you know that new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins? The Lord Jesus said this Himself in Matthew 9:17, saying:
"Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
Friends, we should choose to let go of the past. God commands us to let go of the past in order for us to see the new things that He is doing today (see Isaiah 43:18-19). Many of us, however, fail to do this.
Yes, many of us release the pain and the hurts of the past, but we don't release the successes and glory that we achieved - in other words, we want to stay comfortable. Everything must go. We have to let it all go so that God can lead us to something new and something better.
2) Choose to deny yourself and carry your cross
Next, we must choose to deny ourselves and carry our crosses. If we want to follow Christ in 2018, we've got to do this. There's no other way. The Lord Himself said in Matthew 16:24,
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."
Think about it: where did you put yourself first this year? Did you slip into any bad habits or allow yourself to backslide? It's time to pull up the boot straps and live in line with the Word of God.
3) Choose to focus your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith
Lastly, if we want to start and end the next year right, we've got to keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only by doing this can we keep running the race without getting distracted, sidetracked, and disqualified from running it. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us,
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."