Each year, as the end of the year draws to an end, our thoughts generally go to two things. Thoughts of the past year and thoughts of the coming new year. It is very common to hear people, during this time, make New Year’s resolutions. Some resolutions are made by some people who never really intend to carry them out. Then there are those who make resolutions that are determined in their hearts to fulfill them. However, a vast majority of these people will never see their resolution fulfilled. Over time they loose sight of their goal and forget about the resolution they made. As they allow the cares of life to dominate their time, thoughts, and energy their resolutions are crowded out.
God, the creator of the entire universe, is a God of new beginnings. Salvation through Jesus Christ in a sense can be compared to a New Year’s resolution. There are those who pray the prayer of repentance who never intend to change or forsake their old way of life. Then there are those who pray the prayer of repentance that are determined in their hearts to change and forsake their old ways. However, some of these people will slip back to their old ways and their old lifestyles. Over time they loose sight of their relationship with God and forget the commitment they made to Him. As they allow the cares of life to dominate their time, thoughts, and energy they loose out with God.
Believers, those who have accepted Jesus and their Savior and Lord, must be careful not to allow the cares of life to cause them to loose sight of their goal. There are several definitions of the word goal that could apply to our spiritual life and walk.
The first one is target, somebody or something that is the focus or object of the behavior or actions of others. As a believer who is your focus and how do that focus effect your behavior or actions?
The second one is aim, something that someone wants to achieve. As a believer what do you want to achieve?
The third one is the end of a race. Every person has an end to their race, or life. As a believer what does the end of the race have in store for you?
In order for believers to grow in their relationship with God, fulfill the commitment they made at salvation, and to reach their goal they must do two very important things. They must remove the leaven and keep their eyes on heaven.
Throughout the Bible leaven is a symbol of sin or any evil influence that, if allowed to remain, can corrupt the individual or a body of believers. There are several references in the Bible to beware of leaven.
‘Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”
But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Luke 12:1-3 NKJV
“In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Believers must take heed and guard against sin, corruption and evil influences. Sin has a tremendous impact, effect, power and influence on our lives and those around us. It must be purged from their lives. The believer cannot afford to tolerate sin in their lives. All sins, even small one, are dangerous because they grow and spread. Sin contaminates everything it comes in contact with. If we do not remove or get rid of sin and evil influences they will eventually cause us to miss the mark.
1 Corinthians 5:6-13 NKJV
“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”
Galatians 5:7-9 NKJV
“You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Many people start off on their Christian journey with every intention of completing it however, they fail to keep a check on sin. Left unrestrained sin will cause believers to fall away from God and turn back.
1 Corinthians 9:24 NKJV
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”
May each believer be resolved that they will remove the leaven from their lives so that they may gain the prize that is set before them.
Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
You are the Creator of the entire universe and I thank-you that You are a God of new beginnings.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, help me not to slip back to my old ways or lifestyle. Over time may I not loose sight of my relationship with You and forget the commitment I made to You. Don’t allow the cares of life to dominate my time, thoughts, and energy. May I never loose sight of my eternal goal. I desire for You to be the focus of my life. Through the Holy Spirit’s help and direction may I remove the leaven from my life and keep my eyes on heaven. Help me to take heed and guard against sin, corruption and evil influences.
In Jesus’ name, Amen