January 6

So, it is officially well into 2013. Which means that we officially survived the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012. Guess the Mayans were wrong. What a surprise.
So, my question is, were you disappointed that the world didn’t end—that Jesus didn’t return and take us to be with Him forever? Or were you honestly a bit relieved, knowing that there are things going on in your life right now that cause you to be a bit nervous about the final judgment scene and standing before the throne of God?
I saw a note that said the New Year is “another chance to get it right.” Though I know that we will never get it completely right, and that in that judgment scene we will all be completely reliant on the grace of God and the saving blood of Christ, I quite agree with the sentiment of the New Year’s thought. I believe we are called upon to do everything we can to “get it right.” But what exactly does that mean?
It means living faithfully to God—and again, faithfully is not the same as perfectly. But it does mean I am seeking to please and honor the Lord in everything I say and do (Colossians 3:17) and have put God first in my life (Matthew 6:33). Can you honestly say that you’ve done that?
If you can’t, the New Year is an excellent opportunity to “get it right.” But what will it take to do that? Yes, you will be helped by the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit. But I believe it will take more. It will take deliberate action on your part. It will take you doing some things differently than the way you have been doing them. It will take you changing some of your priorities. It will take you making different choices. It will take you putting what you know God wants for you ahead of what you want for yourself.
You see for you to grow and to change and to “get it right” this year, it is more than just God’s work. It’s your work too. And He will not make you follow Him. He will not make you be faithful. He will not make you “get it right.”
This week I tweeted a quote from author/theologian Dallas Willard. “The action of the Spirit to transform our character must be accompanied by our active participation.” Amen.
How actively are you participating in this little project? You know, you have not missed a single Sunday of assembling with your church family yet this year. Will that change after Sunday? You have not missed a single Sunday morning Bible class, or Sunday night worship service. Will you be able to say that after this Sunday? These are great opportunities, and you know in your heart if you have a legitimate reason for not being here if you choose to be absent. And you know in your heart if you are simply neglecting and forsaking the assembly of the church (Hebrews 10:25).
Let’s go back to the judgment scene. Will you feel good about sharing with the crucified Lord why it was too much of a sacrifice for you to be here? It’s a new year. It’s a fresh start. Get it right.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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