A New Year’s Resolution

Well, Christmas is over. Now, we look forward to New Year’s day. On New Year’s day, families gather together for meals and watch a myriad of football, basketball, hockey and many other sporting events. Commercials will advertise weight loss programs or exercise equipment which promise to help fight the battle of the bulge. Also, many people will make new year resolutions – quit smoking, start exercising, spend more time with the family, begin taking classes and many other resolutions. But, in reality, most of these promises will be broken before the calendar hits February.
However, the New Year does give believers in Christ an opportunity to make one important resolution.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” First, the writer of Hebrews is stressing the point of worship in this verse. As in biblical times, people today are in the habit of not attending church. The word “habit” (ἔθος) refers to a pattern of behavior more or less fixed by tradition and sanctioned by society. Therefore, if you are not attending church on a regular basis, then you have established a tradition which is approved by the lost world. For believers, this is not a good tradition but rather mirrors our culture. Second, the reason we need to go to church is to encourage one another. The word “encouraging” (παρακαλέω) means to cause someone to be encouraged or consoled, either by verbal or non-verbal means. In short, it refers to helping others continue in their Christian walk. All of us from time to time need encouragement, particularly with life is difficult. We can help our fellow strugglers get over the rough patches and help them find a support system to sustain them in hard times. This encouragement is reciprocal – as we help others; they will help us. We do not live in isolation but are part of a larger community. Third, the necessity for attending worship and helping others is because of looming judgment. The word Day (ἡμέρα) is a judicial term which points to a court of justice. Thus, it points to a futuristic time of judgment. As Christians, we know there is the coming day when Christ will judge the world and his followers. In light of this truth, we need to encourage and challenge each other to live for Christ!
So, while you are making your New Year’s resolutions, I would like to encourage you to put attending worship at the top of the list. Decide today that you are going to start taking your family to church! Then, don’t let anything else interfere with that time with God and other believers. You will be worshipping God with other believers, who will pray for you and help provide encouragement in difficult times. And, you can help them when times get tough! Go to church this coming Sunday!
in Christ,
Dr. Michael J. Frazier

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