01.11.18

2018 and Christ is (Still) Supreme

If you’re anything like me, you tire quickly of all hype about a new year. Folks make big resolutions. Gyms offer big discounts. Magazines prompt you to reflect on how you can become a “new” you. All of these inform the promise we make to ourselves: “New year, new me!”

The good news for those in Christ though is that the “new” us didn’t necessarily begin at midnight on December 31st. The new “us” began with faith in Jesus and his work on the cross. The Apostle Paul reminds of this much in 2 Corinthians 5:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we don’t need to make a new us; Jesus has taken care of that already. Praise the Lord, in Christ, we are new creations. Do new creations need anything?

Well, there’s nothing wrong at all with getting in better shape or breaking some bad habits. These can be great things! Yet it’s tempting to think those things are what we most fundamentally need. It’s tempting to think we need this and need that in this New Year, but do you know what I need most?

I need Jesus to increase and me to decrease.

I need to love God with all I have and love my neighbor as myself.

I need to show up regularly to church and love the people there.

I need to show up regularly to church and serve the people there.

I need to show up regularly to church and bear with the people there.

I need to show up regularly to church and pray for the people there.

I need to share the gospel with those who don’t know Christ.

I need to share the gospel with those who do know Christ.

I need to share the gospel with myself.

I need less Twitter and more Bible.

I need less Facebook and more Bible.

I need less TV and more Bible.

I need less Insta—OK, you get it—I need more Bible.

I need less complaining and more prayer.

The good news for those in Christ though is that the “new” us didn’t necessarily begin at midnight on December 31st. The new “us” began with faith in Jesus and his work on the cross. Click To Tweet

I need less entitlement and more gratitude.

I need less greed and more generosity.

I need less vengeance and more mercy.

I need less pride and more humility, less presumption and more believing the best.

I need to say “I’m sorry.” more and “I’m sorry, but if you hadn’t…” less.

I need to remind myself that everyday, I’ll be tempted to find life in something outside of Christ.

I need to give up my charade of self-sufficiency.

I need to repent.

I need to rejoice.

In short, I need what I’ve always needed—to become a disciple of Jesus who is ever growing in holiness. And the beauty of it all is that this list would crush me if it were left up to me. I know I wouldn’t live up to it. I could try year after year on my own, but I’m too weak to do that. Unless God helps me, this list is moralism, a baptized version of resolutions that are rooted in my own strength.

Yet the good news for new creations in Christ is that in a major sense we need nothing because we have Jesus. Our lives are hidden in him. He is our righteousness. He is our success. He is our life, and our life is coming again. Paul reminds us of this great hope in Colossians:

“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory…”

This means that with Jesus, the best 2018 can be is our best year yet because our best years ever are reserved for heaven. And when, as the hymn goes, “we’ve been there for ten thousand years, bright, shining as the sun / We’ll have no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun!

So little can happen in a year. So much can happen in a new year. Maybe everything will change for better in 2018, maybe everything will change for the worst in 2018. Here’s one thing that won’t change though: The fact that Jesus is king. As Beautiful Eulogy and Shai Linne so wonderfully said in 2017, Jesus is supreme.

And that’s still the case in 2018, my friends. In fact, whatever year it is, that will never not be the case. May we start our new year resting and rejoicing in that truth. Amen.

With Jesus, the best 2018 can be is our best year yet because our best years ever are reserved for heaven. Click To Tweet