Monday, May 20, 2024

Press On Toward Jesus Throughout the New Year

By Joe Chesser

      The New Year has arrived and is stretched out before us. The holidays are over (whew!), and most of us are ready to get back to normalcy (whatever that means for you). Back to work. Back to school. Back to normal sleeping. Back to diets. Back to routine.          

    However, it is the New Year, and many of us have been thinking about how to make personal improvements (physical, family, financial). And as you know, making resolutions and commitments sounds great. The difficulty comes in fulfilling these goals. You know that. This is not something new to you, is it? How many times has your diet fizzled out after as few weeks or months? How many times have your exercise plans come to nothing?  How many times has your new budget been blown?  How many times has your family time vanished for one reason or another? It’s tough for these hopes and dreams become reality.

    Sadly, what’s true with our physical goals is just as true with our spiritual goals. We want to read our Bibles and pray more than we did in the past. We want to attend more Bible classes and be more involved in church activities than before. We want to be faithful to the Lord in every way. But even these awesome spiritual desires sometimes fade into the background and get replaced with inferior life situations.

    God knows we struggle with life decisions such as overtime opportunities at work; house and yard repairs; vacations; sports; hunting and fishing, grandkids, etc.  He knows our hearts and how even good things can distract us from better things. He knows what Satan uses to temp or divert us.  

    And so He encourages us to put first things first (Matthew 6.33); to press on toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3.12-14), to be steadfast and unmovable (1 Corinthians 15.58), to set our minds on things above, not on the earth (Colossians 3.1-2) and to die to ourselves every day and follow Jesus (Luke 9.23). He also warns us about looking back at what we left (like Lot’s wife -  Genesis 1); about making excuses regarding following Jesus (Luke 9.57-62); about taking our eyes off of Jesus (like Peter did – Matthew 14) and about becoming entangled in the worldly ways again like a dog returning to his vomit (2 Peter 2.20-22).

    Being committed to Jesus is never presented in Scripture as something easy and carefree. As noted above, it is presented as a battle, as a sacrifice, as a challenge. But it’s not a challenge we have to face alone. We are promised help, guidance and comfort from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5.16; Romand 8.26-27; Acts 9.31). And on top of that we are promised unimaginable blessings if we die in Christ (1 Corinthians 2.9; Revelation 14.13; 2 Timothy 4.7-8; James 1.12).

    What a great time for all of us to renew our commitment to press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Don’t let anyone or anything distract or deter you from holding true to what you have attained from God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3.16)! May God bless you and me as we press on toward Jesus in 2024!!!

- Joe Chesser worked for years with the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. Now retired from full time preaching, he may be contacted at

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