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NEW YEAR NOTE – SHIFT FOCUS

- Carol L. Mawlong


I believe we have all comeacross the word ‘impede’ and haveused it without being aware of its application to us as followers of Jesus. Webster’s dictionary defines impede as ‘to obstruct; hinder, hamper, block passage through or to stop in progress’. And this definition is very significant to us as we stand on the threshold of a new year.


Over time we have accumulated excess baggage that has impeded our progress as Christians. Spiritually, we all carry this baggage. And this baggage is heavy because inside this baggage there are a lot of things that we carry around with us whetherwe are stationary or on the move. Our baggage is usually weighed down by two different types of things:


Burdens like worry, stress, anxiety, illness, financial hardships, marital problems, grief, guilt and traumatic events, etc.


Flaws or bad habits like gossip, criticism, passing judgment, anger,back talking, bitterness, slander, malice and other selfish tendencies.

And it is this baggage containing all these burdens and bad habits that impedes our progress as Christians to step boldly into the future and reach the mark.


But when we meet Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are born again, and are under His grace. The entire heavy burden that we have been carrying slowly slides off of us and for the first time, in a long time, we experience a deep sense of peace as Jesus, by His grace, takes away our burdens and frees us off the dead weight.This happens when we cast all our cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus said “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I Am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”. And we are free of our burdens when we shift our focus from our troubles and centre our eyes on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1 & 2 says “…letus lay aside every weightand the sin which so easily ensnares us, … looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith …”


Also, we may ask, is it possible for a born again Christian to slip back into their old habits like a little gossip, a little criticism, a little back biting, beinga little judgmental, fly off the handle once a while and so on? We may be afraid to admit it but the answer is yes. Itdoesn’t have to be all of the old habits, maybe just one or two. But the Bible in Ephesians 4:22 onwards instructs us to put off our former conductand be renewed in the spirit of our minds.To put away lying, stealing, bitterness, wrath, clamor, malice, evil speaking, corruption, that grieves the Holy Spirit. “Put to death therefore what is earthlyin you …” (Colossians 3:5) “Therefore we were buriedwith Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”. “Likewise you also, reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:4, 11).


Every year on the 1st of January we make new resolutions which we sincerelyhope to keep, but sadly, three or four months down the road we slip back into our old comfortable habits.But the Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away; behold, all thingshave become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We need to renew our spiriteveryday by dying to self-daily. Die every day and be born again everyday. On our own we will surely fail, but by the grace of God we will succeed.So, it does not matterwhether it’s the 1st of January, the 3rd of March, the 30th of June or the 22nd of December. Every new day is a new beginning. With every new day God is giving us a second chance. As a matter of fact, we worship a God Who Is not only the God of second chances,but the God of third, fourth and unlimited chances for His children who confess their shortcomings and come to Him for help. (1 John 1: 7-9). A word of caution though. We should not take advantage of the fact that our God is good and merciful. There is a stern warning in Hebrews 10:26 which says,“Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.” (NLT)


So, be born again everyday. Every day is a new day in a new year of your life.


For that reason, let every day in the new year be a new day in Christ as we fix our eyes on Him. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outwardman is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4: 16)




I Kong Carol L.Mawlong i dei i dkhot ka Balang Presbyterian Jaiaw. I dei iwei na ki Counsellor jong ka Balang iba ju iashim bynta ha kaba ai ia ka jingiasyllok ia ki briew kiba don ha ki jingeh kiba pher bapher. I dei iwei na ki nonghikai Sunday School ha Junior Department bad ruh i dei iwei na ki nongthoh ba ju noh synniang bha ha ki jingpuson lyngkot ia ka Ktien U Blei (Devotion) ha ka E – Newsletter ka Jingiaseng Samla Balang Presbyterian Jaiaw.

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