A New Year – a new beginning – finally – 2021! I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the words: “Come on 2021! 2020 was so awful, the only way is up from here!” Without a doubt, the Covid virus has made this past year almost unbearable! Yet with a vaccine on the horizon, with all we have learned about the protection of masking and sanitizing, we look forward in hope. Maybe we are even making many physically healthful resolutions to improve other aspects of our personal lives. Certainly we pray for a better path in the year to come!
But there’s another kind of infection that plagues our lives and world. It’s a spiritual infection called sin that can spread and isolate and drag us down in the way God and we want to live. The Good News is there’s a cure already available, a spiritual inoculation of sorts. God developed this life restoring medicine by sending His Son. What a joy to celebrate again the birth of Jesus this past Christmas. Jesus came into this world to bring the virus of our sin into Himself, paying for the effects of this virus in His body as He suffered and died on the cross. From Him flows the antivirus, the forgiveness, the undeserved love that surrounds and destroys the virus of our sins. This serum flows through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit’s forgiving power in our Baptism, and the life of Christ which becomes ours as we in faith receive His body and blood. The year ahead will be filled with so many opportunities for us to live spiritually healthful lives. So why not include a few spiritual healthful resolutions for 2021? Here are a few:
I resolve to put Christ before my church and my church before my secular schedule.
I resolve to put the spiritual before the material and the eternal before the temporal.
I resolve to put God’s Word before the opinion of others.
I resolve to put prayer before pleasure.
I resolve to walk more by faith and trust, less by sight and reason.
I resolve to live in order to give rather than to get.
I resolve to be good rather than great.
I resolve to put more of God and less of myself into what I do.
I resolve to walk with Jesus, part of His mission, sharing Him in simple ways each and every day through what I say and do.
The Good News for Christians as we resolve to improve our spiritual health is that we do so by God’s power working within us. The Holy Spirit will mold and shape us in the coming year. Each day He offers us a “new beginning.” We can unload the fear and burden of our sin – the guilt and sorrow and pain – knowing that Christ has already carried them for us. In the forgiveness He has earned we can start fresh. Our past is forgiven! Yes, we pray the Lord to bring on the shot to keep Covid away! But may we also pray that the Lord would provide an IV of His Spirit through Word and Sacrament so that we have a health-filled year spiritually as well! May we trust in and live for Jesus, placing Him first in our lives!
A blessed and Christ-filled 2021 to all! Pastor Craig