18-01-01-Matt-6-33-Starting-Off-Right CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
After a season of gifts and family visits it is time to return to the business of living for the Lord. So much attention is given to temporal and worldly things during the Holiday season that people drift away from the Lord. It’s time to get back on track. So, today we are going to preach about starting the New Year right. Starting right requires us to:
Seek first the Kingdom of God – Matt 6:33 – first and foremost in our minds needs to be the invisible kingdom of God [Lk 17:20-21]. We need to concern ourselves preeminently with spiritual aspects of this kingdom [Rom 14:17] rather than with the temporal aspects of the world in which we live. Often when we plan fellowships we become more concerned with the menu than we do with the people and the Lord with whom we will fellowship. We need to seek first the spiritual and think and worry less about the physical.
Start each day with Bible reading – Job 23:12; Prov 8:17 – Job wanted the words of God more than he wanted food. Like a friend in children’s ministries says, “No Bible, no breakfast.” We must seek the wisdom of God in the Bible before we get started on our day. If you wait till you get your emails, social network posts and updates and texts out of the way you will never get to the Book.
Start each day with prayer – Ps 55:17; Ps 88:13 – we must come boldly and yet humbly to the throne of grace early in the morning. We dare not begin our days without seeking God’s direction, protection, provision, will and help in everything we do. Prayer is the greatest privilege and the source of the greatest power that we have with God. We must avail ourselves of each opportunity daily, and the earlier the better, while it is quiet and there are few distractions.
Start each week in church – Heb 10:25 – your local church should be the center of your activity. There should never be a question in your mind on Saturday what you are going to be doing on Sunday. Too many people today figure if they don’t have anything else to do then they’ll go to church. But if something else comes up they’ll skip. That’s a poor way to start your week. Your children’s best friends should be from your church. Your best friends should be in your church. And you should come to church ready to be fed from the preaching and teaching of God’s Holy words. And you should be there to serve others and glorify God, as well.
Give of our firstfruits – Prov 3:9 – before you spend any money on your bills or yourself, you should first give to the Lord. Our tithe and our offerings to the church and missions offerings always precede any other expenses we have. And the Lord has always blessed. It is too easy to spend all that you make or even more than you make and never have enough to give liberally to the Lord. If you give to him first, then you are going to be more careful about how you spend the rest and the Lord is going to bless the remainder.
Resolve this year to BE better than last year – 2 Pet 3:18 – you should be growing in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. If you are growing in these two areas, you will be changing. And the changes will be for the better. Do not let your Christian life stagnate. If you ARE better, you will DO better. You will become more faithful, you will be a better witness for the Lord, you will be a better influence in the lives of those close to you, you will be a greater help to those whom you serve and you will find more abundance in your life [Jn 10:10].
Conclusion: These are just a few simple things that you can do this year to make this year better than the year before. You should be able to look back at the end of this year and see that you have grown in the Lord. If you start well you can finish well.