These are the words of thousands, even millions, of us who look at the New Year and worry if we're really up to the changes we say we want to make.
Fear about change, uncertainty about opportunities, and worry about the future steal more from us than thieves ever will. There's just something in our human nature that makes us afraid. We don't want to lose what we have, so we pull back from anything that might threaten it — even "things" that might be a whole lot better. We fear the consequences of our possible changes. So most of our new year changes are short-lived and mere window dressing.
As Christians, however, we have the power to change without fear. We can reach out and embrace new opportunities with expectation. We can welcome the future with excitement.
You see, God has promised his power to help us change. That power is the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:14-21). This is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:17-19). This is power to not only change, but to be transformed (2 Corinthians 3:18).
While we change, God's grace assures us that the important things in our lives will not be lost. As our hearts seek after Jesus as Lord, we can welcome changes and seize opportunities knowing that nothing can separate us from his love for us (Romans 8:31-39). Jesus' love and presence will not change or leave us (Hebrews 13:5-8).
While some may fear the dawn of the New Year because of the changes it MIGHT bring, we can welcome the dawn of this New Year with anticipation. In this New Year, our Lord Jesus will be working to change us to be more like himself and to be more of a blessing to those around us. His work in us WILL happen. The real question is this: Are we going to let fear rob Jesus of his goal in us, or will we seize the opportunities and seek the changes that bring him glory?
Let's welcome the dawn of our New Year with anticipation and courage, remembering the apostle John's promise, "Perfect love drives out fear!" and the reassuring words of Jesus to his storm tossed disciples, "Fear not. I am!"
Keep up with Phil's trip to Germany. He will be teaching ministers and missionaries from Europe this week as well as announcing the launch of Heartlight in German, called SeinLicht (His Light). You can find out more about the trip and get daily updates by entering the following url in your browser: http://blogs.heartlight.org/phil/. (Note: No www is needed.)