Starting The New year Out Right
Someone once said that living the Christian life is kind of like shaving—no matter how well you do it today, it needs to be done again tomorrow! There is a lot of truth in that simple statement. The problem with many Christians today is that they don’t have a good concept of what living the Christian life involves. How can they do again tomorrow what they don’t know to do today? To have a proper understanding of New Testament Christianity, and that’s the kind of Christian I want to be, we need to familiarize ourselves with the word “daily”. Christianity is something that needs to be practiced daily because of who and what we are. Even if we failed this past year to live as we should, there’s no reason why we can’t start afresh, and a new year gives us that opportunity. First of all, in Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Notice that Jesus said that the kind of self-denial and cross bearing that He demanded of His followers was to be done on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean wearing a cross around your neck every day on a chain that you don’t take off. Nor does bearing your cross mean, that you have to bear a bad back or leg or put up with a bad situation in your life. I’ve even heard people refer to their spouse as the cross they must bear. Jesus wasn’t talking about anything like that. The cross you’re to take up is for you and your sinful nature to be crucified with Christ on. Our life is to be lived in full submission to Jesus, not just on Sunday, or when it’s convenient, but on a daily basis. Secondly, Acts 17:11 said this about the Christians in Berea: “They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” To be a New Testament Christian you will need to acquaint yourself with your Bible on a daily basis. I’m not talking about occasional Bible study, or whenever you have time for it, or hit and miss Bible study, but daily Bible study. Read it, underline it, meditate upon it, and try to commit it to memory. Going to church and Sunday School whenever the doors are open isn’t going to cause you to overdose on too much Bible. I’m not talking to a person that wouldn’t start to lose a lot of weight quickly if the only time you ate was on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, or Wednesday evening, typical times when the church used to meet. But beyond church, you need to search the scriptures daily for spiritual food to nourish your own soul. You shouldn’t miss when spiritual food is being dished out at your church, but you need to understand that it is your responsibility to nourish your own soul, and it needs nourished daily. Thirdly, in Matthew 6:11 in what we have come to call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prayed: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Just like you need daily spiritual food from your Bible, New Testament Christians required daily prayer for the needs of the day. You can’t pray one day and figure you took care of a month’s worth of needs at one crack! You need to talk to the Lord on a daily basis and ask Him to meet your daily needs. Real Christians pray daily. You pick the time. It doesn’t have to be the same time I do or the same place, or in the same way, but it needs to be done daily if you hope to survive spiritually. Fourthly, Hebrews 3:13 commands us to “Exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” One of the purposes for gathering at church is to exhort and encourage each other. In the world we live in you need to regularly be around Christian people to keep your spirits up and to keep your eye on the goal. I can remember when new Christians thought it was too long from the Sunday night service until the Wednesday night one. Now many professing Christians think there are too many other pressing things to attend to. Not only do you need encouraging, but it is your responsibility to encourage others, as well. Our faith, if we have any, and it is worth anything, must be practiced and lived out on a daily basis. Instead of making some foolish resolutions that you won’t carry through on, why not commit to practicing and nourishing your faith on a daily basis this year. Resolve to be in church when the doors are open, to pray and read your Bible daily, and to live the Christian life out at your house and in the world you live in. David said in Psalm 61:8: “So will I sing praise unto thy name forever, that I may daily perform my vows.” Hopefully when you got saved you vowed to the Lord to do certain things and to stop doing others. May I remind you that those vows are payable on a daily basis!