A new year often brings a new hope
and a new drive to many. A hope to get fit, a hope to get out of debt, a hope to get a new job, a hope to whatever your new year’s resolution is. Unfortunately for most, by mid to late February, that hope has given way to the busyness of life and put on the shelf until next January.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is about 80%, and most lose their resolve by mid-February. 

This year is no different, 2020 gives way to 2021—a year hopefully with a lot of changes. 2021 is hopefully a year without a ton of politics, hopefully this is the year that we see a decline in COVID cases and a release in COVID restrictions. And I hope this is the year that you get fit, out of debt, get that job you wanted…

But, just as winter gives way to spring, which gives way to summer, then fall and back to winter, so the new year will likely bring some new challenges of its own. Our hope isn’t in the new year, or the new normal (which by the way you should definitely catch Pastor Kevin’s upcoming sermon series on the New Normal, it’s going to be great), or a new anything. Our hope is in the eternal King, the Savior, the Christ.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.    Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

There is a very real enemy called Satan that wants to keep your mind focused on all the sufferings of this world, and on the things that this world claims can bring hope and happiness. And those things in and of themselves can be good, but when they become our focus, when they become our hope, they get in the way of the great that God has for our lives.

When we feel the urge to focus on the all the problems and try to fix them all ourselves, instead turn them over to Him and trust in His goodness. God has a much greater hope for our lives and we experience it when we keep our focus on Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.    1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)

This passage gives us all a very simple path to a better hope. Humble yourself, stay away from sin, hold on tightly to your faith in Christ knowing that you are not alone, and He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you in a way that is far better than you could have ever imagined, in a way that will not fade away with age. He will provide a hope for you that is everlasting.

It is my prayer for you that you will experience some of those earthly things that you are hoping for in 2021, but that they will not consume you. My prayer is that Christ will consume you, His love and mercy will overwhelm your mind, body, and spirit, and in turn you will live out His will for your life joyfully. Will you join me in 2021 in being consumed by Christ, giving our lives fully over to Him and His will for us?

Happy New Year,
Jason Vann

Hospitality & LifeGroup Ministries Director