Beginning Again

"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it." (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

I wonder how the Paul of Acts 8:1-3 and 9:1, 2 dealt with being a Christian evangelist? How did he feel when he walked Jerusalemís streets past the houses where he arrested people? How did he deal with past words of threats and murder? Even he was mystified by Godís grace that forgave his violence (1 Timothy 1:12-16)!

How did Paul deal with his past failure? How could he be so committed to a religious tradition of destruction and become an effective missionary among the hopeless? (1) He put his past in the past. (2) He forgave himself by trusting Godís forgiveness. (3) He committed himself to serving Godís purposes instead of his own fears.

All of us commonly refocus each January 1 as a new year begins. The New Year is freshóa time for hopes and dreams. The old year is worn, threadbare. Though the old contained good, it also created opportunities for our flaws to tower over us as they controlled our livesí direction. So, inwardly tired and troubled, we resolve to deal with our flaws as we are inspired to reach for productive new heights.

The following are some resolutions I hope we find worthy of consideration.

  1. I will seek to be more Christ-like in my mind, emotions, behavior, and consideration each day I am privileged to live.
  2. I will make serious efforts to understand Godís purposes and values instead of assuming my purposes and values are Godís.
  3. I will allow God to continue to ďrenew my mindĒ so my God will continue His transformation process in me.
  4. I will listen to understand before I speak.
  5. I will show the compassionate mercy I wish to receive.
  6. I will forgive as I wish God to forgive me.
  7. I will seek spiritual growth quietly, humbly as Godís servant by deliberately shunning arrogance.
  8. I will understand my credibility as Christís representative is enhanced by both my behavior and my words.
  9. I will dedicate myself to being a person of faith, and reflect faith in my character.
  10. I will put my faith in the Savior instead of the saved.

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32). Happy New Year! May God be glorified in us!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 December 2007

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