Key Word:- BECOME
Title:- The Glory of God Is A Person Who Is Completely Alive
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I think I like this time of year. I am the kind of man who loves the planning rather than the implementation of things, so, setting out goals for the coming year is quite exciting and though achieving them will be somewhat more excruciating, I do like all the planning, all the expectation of change, all the anticipation of newness and the bringing into order of all my most disordered days. I like this time of year as well because my parents were Scots. Glaswegians to be precise. Some of you will understand then that Christmas took a poor second place during our family’s winter holiday season. Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve was the big event in our house.
In preparation for the event, my mother would clean the house, wash all her glasses and china, clean out the old ashes from the grate, get on her glad rags and then of course, together with my father all booted and spurred and suitably juiced up, would celebrate both well before and well after midnight, bringing a bunch of friends and inebriated strays home from the local pub to join them in the partying. I tell you, Karaoke is not some new torture friends! Tipply pub singers have been around a long, long time and as a youngster, up at midnight during Hogmanay, I saw many of them arrive at our house, still sloshed and singing, melancholy and teary eyed, waiting for midnight and the first foot of a tall dark stranger to enter the house at the front carrying some coal to add to the fire and bringing some good luck with him, having a wee dram and a toast of good luck, only then being allowed to leave the house at the back, taking the old years bad luck away and away forever and ever, amen. Better luck for the coming year was all they wanted. However, this fascinating combination of strange superstition and ancient practice, never ever worked; certainly not at our house anyway. Never the less, it’s a good plan to welcome guests though for in the so doing, some have entertained angels unawares and it’s an excellent picture of what we all truly desire for the coming year. Good fortune! So tonight dear friend I want you to first foot yourself into the New Year. How?
Well first of all, simply refuse to carry some of your unnecessary burdens into the awaiting future. Did He not say “cast all your care” upon Him? Yes He did! So why not finally do so tonight and then daily refuse to lay hold on them again. Is some of that anxiety bubbling up in your being and burning your voice and destroying you? Then simply refuse to carry it anymore. Choose the settling words of His grace instead, yes, cast all Your care on Him and refuse to be anxious! Be stupid in the world’s eyes and become that beaming idiot abroad and because you totally trust in Jesus to take care of you, throw your shoulders back, take a deep breath and sing a little. So tonight, first foot yourself by casting all your cares on Him, and refusing to let worry live on your back. Yes, it is as easy as that!
Oh and secondly, how about some of that old glory, that old gold of yours. Is it a bit tarnished? A bit well worn? Past deeds and good works, excellent achievements and goals achieved, are all well and good but sometimes they hang like a tarnished gold 'macho man medallion' around an open shirted hairy chest for all to see. It's very nice dear, but a bit old and a bit of a joke. So move on. Let past achievements go as well along with all the other nonsense and put that heaving chest away. Please! Tonight, let go of both the bad and let go of the old good! Forget them and move on. It's all in the past. Choose to let them go so you have freer hands to embrace a better future! Cast both the cares of your back and the weights of your front all upon Him today.
Do remember however, that in all this effort of letting go, in all this work of throwing away, so as not to be so uneasily encumbered about again in the coming year, it is important to speedily and correctly lay hold of the right thing. I mean, just look down friend, what do you have in your hand right now? Should that be there? I didn’t think so! So make sure, that you lay hold of the right thing this coming year. Reach out, strain forward toward the prize. Lay hold of that which is ahead of you. You know, the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Eh? You know, that supreme and heavenly prize which God is calling us up to heaven to get because of what Christ Jesus did for us? That prize, you know? The one that gets real Christians all excited and gives them goose bumps. You know, that prize your spirit yearns for. You know, the prize that brings a warm joy to your heart when it gets a little cold. Ahh… that prize! You know what I am talking about and you do know how to set your heart on it? Don’t you?
I am not talking about just ‘Jam tomorrow’ here dear friends, for Ignatius sees this prize as a deposit in the now. In other words it is the 'purse' and not the belt; it is the 'crock' and not the crown. The prize then is the realisation of the future reward that can both begin to be spent and enjoyed right now. The prize is the realization of our incorruptible and eternal life which is rooted and enjoyed through God, because of God, with God and in God. This prize is to be 'all we truly are.'
Yes, this prize of becoming all we truly are, and is the commencement and continuing fulfilment of our eternal and happy destiny with Jesus. This prize is our tailored and thrice tested, all singing, all dancing, go faster, you can’t bend it or break it, capacity to happily become all we ever could be with Jesus. This prize, is supremely precious and highly personal and it is yours for the living this coming year. Be sure that this is the best of prizes, for this prize is the glory of God and this prize is you, fully alive!!
So, why not right now, let go and then lay hold of this prize of a life which becomes a child of God like you. Do this in the coming year by: pursuing God with all your heart; possessing who you are in Jesus and practicing what He preaches. Let the coming year then, be a pursued pilgrimage of released life for you. Yes, this coming year, why not at last become fully alive and so start glorifying God in the best ways possible. I mean come on friend, start living this year why don’t you!
Oh and finally, may I be the first to wish you, a very Happy New Year!
Listen:- May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Philippians 4:4 TEV
Pray: - As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for You O God, for the living God! When I remember this past year, I pour out my soul within me. Let me enter the courts of this coming year of grace with the voice of joy and praise, along with a multitude of runners that keeps the pilgrim feast. O remember me my God as I remember You. From the heights of my hopes and the depths of my despairs. Lord, command Your loving kindness to caress me in the daytime, and in the nights of this coming year, surround me with Your singing songs of comfort, Your joy and consolation, Your happiness and continuing restoration, in Jesus name I pray, amen.