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September 15, 2019 | Doug Sauder
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”—1 Peter 1:3 (NASB)
As of today, 2017 is officially in the rearview mirror! As you look back over the last 12 months, I’m sure there have been ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures. For many, the new year symbolizes something more than just the end of another year; it means the dawning of new possibilities, new hopes, new ideas, and new dreams.
As we consider what the next 12 months will bring, some people eagerly look forward, while others might be filled with dread, worried that this year will be just as hard—or worse—as the last.
To all of us who follow Christ, the apostle Peter has a message: We have a living hope that can never die. We have received this living hope through the great mercy of God by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! It’s a hope we can rest in and lean on—a hope that is renewed each and every morning.
For some, the tragedies of 2017 may be obscuring their view of this living hope. Many times, we can get stuck in the past, trapped in our past failures, mistakes, and sins, so much so that we become spiritually paralyzed—incapable of enjoying the abundant life Jesus came to give us, and unable to live out the calling God has placed on us.
Remember what Paul said: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:13–14 NLT). Is it easy? Definitely not. There are few things more difficult to overcome than one’s past. It shapes who we are today; it often defines our lives and the choices that we make. But we can overcome it! How? By “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV).
So for you, 2018 may be full of triumph. If so, that’s awesome! Or it may be full of tragedy. I pray it isn’t. More likely, it will contain a fair mix of both. But guess what? The mountaintops and valleys of life can neither add to nor take away from this living hope, because this hope is complete and perfect in Christ Jesus. So let’s resolve to remind ourselves of this beautiful fact every single day!
DIG: How has your past influenced you? How has it impacted your life choices and your present standing?
DISCOVER: What is your New Year’s Resolution?
DISPLAY: If you are experiencing difficulty overcoming the past, pray! Ask the Lord for His comfort, strength, and peace. Consider speaking with trusted loved ones and friends in the faith about what’s holding you back.