Pressing On To One Thing…

Happy New Year! Do those words represent for you a hope, a wish, a dream or a goal? I believe that every year that God gives us on this earth is to be a year where we are as productive as we can be for His work and as pleasing as we can be for His glory. The longer you live the more you realize just how fleeting these years are and just how important it is to maximize the potential of each year for being what we ought to be and doing what we ought to do.

At least half of us in this room will do something today, if we haven’t already, that in the beginning will be very exhilarating, but in the end very frustrating. We are going to make New Year’s Resolutions. According to USA.gov the top ten resolutions that Americans make every New Year’s Day are the following:

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions
1. Lose Weight
2. Manage Debt/Save Money
3. Get Physically Fit
4. Eat Healthy
5. Learn Something New
6. Drink Less Alcohol
7. Quit Smoking
8. Reduce Stress
9. Take A Trip Somewhere
10. Volunteer To Help Others

Those are all very good resolutions. The problem is 4-out-of-5 people who make them will break them. One-third of people who make resolutions won’t get past the end of January before they break them. That is why I believe what we need is not a New Year’s resolution, but what we need is a New Year’s revolution. That is what we are going to be talking over the next two weeks. What does God say to us? He does have plenty to say about how we can maximize every year He gives us to reach our God-given potential to be what we ought to be, do what we ought to do and become what we ought to become.

Paul was writing from a Roman prison. As far as he knew, every day would be his last one. In a sense, every day for him was New Year’s Day. He gives us the secret on how to make every New Year your best year. He begins by making a candid admission which is the starting point for making your life better on a daily basis.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:12, ESV)

What Paul is admitting is he has not arrived. He doesn’t have it all together. Though he has done a lot there is still more to do. Though he has been to a lot of places there are still more places to go. Though he has reached a lot of his potential he has not reached all of his potential. I don’t care how old you are. As long as you are drawing a breath on this earth there are always more lessons to learn. There are always more principles to apply. There is always more room to grow.

I am convinced the reason why so many Christ-followers are so ineffective in their Christian life and the reason why so many churches are ineffective in their mission is because they are involved in many things and they don’t really concentrate on one thing. I can’t tell you the number of times people come to me and say, “You know I would like to serve in our church and go on a mission trip and share my story and be more active, but I’ve got too many irons in the fire.” Do you know what I feel like saying sometimes? “Either pull out some of your irons or put out the fire!” Too many of us carry shotguns around firing buckshot everywhere when we ought to be carrying a rifle shooting a bullet at one target.

Anyone knows that concentration is the secret of power. If you take a river and make that river flow in one direction and one direction only and not overflow its banks it can become a tremendous source of electric energy. If you can take light and concentrate it and its power you can make a laser that can cut through steel. Likewise, Paul is saying, “Set the right goals in your life and not very many of them and then build your life around reaching those goals.”

–James Merritt

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