By Pastor Stuart Weist
First Baptist Church of Preston
We have come to the time of year again when many people make plans for the coming year. Resolutions generally at the top of the list are to lose weight, improve wealth, spend time with family, complete education, etc. But, what about your faith? Where is your relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? As a pastor, I often see visitors come to church for a Christmas program, candlelight service, or other special meeting. What is surprising to me though, is how people can so quickly forget about God in their daily lives. In our community most have spent the last month adorning their homes in figurines, lights, and decorations that reflect the birth of Christ. But, after the new year as those decorations are stored, so often people’s faith is put away as well. This year why not resolve to grow in Christ?
God is loving and gracious. He is always there for us regardless of how far we feel we have drifted away. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except that which is common for Man,” but God gives us the power and strength to endure. The Lord is our source of strength and resilience. It is upon Him that we ought to trust, and He is always ready to forgive. Scripture is full of help in renewing our hearts and providing us with encouragement however, we must simply be willing to ask.
Let us take a lesson from David. He understood what it was to depend upon the Lord and still live for Him each day. Still, David struggled in sin and at times drifted away from the Lord. He writes in Psalms 51:10 asking the Lord to “create a clean heart” in him and to “renew his spirit.” It was this renewal of self which David desired which had him constantly growing in the Lord. David understood that there were times he needed help in focusing on the Lord and being drawn back to him. It is this heart for the Lord that we all ought to resolve to have in 2023 and this is where the church can help in your new year’s resolution.
A church is not walls, pews, bells, or steeples. A church is a body of believers who gather to grow in the Lord. A church is people from all walks of life with all manner of past sin who desire to grow in Him because they have been “renewed by Him” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul’s prayer for the church was that they would desire to be transformed by the Word of God though the renewal of their minds (Romans 12:2). This ought to also be our goal as well. No matter where you find yourself or how far you think you have drifted away as you approach this new year, may I encourage you to start this year off right by renewing your faith in Christ.