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 Vol. 6, No. 10 

October 2004


~ Page 8 ~

The New Year: A Good Time
 for Reflection and Optimism

By Joe W. Nichols

[First Century Christian 22.12 (2000): 11.]

Mistakes and failures of the past should not be allowed to hinder and rule in regard to the present and the future. Paul's admonition needs to be applied in such cases. "But one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

However, this does not mean that we cannot learn from our mistakes and failures and profit from them. Righteousness of God is a learned behavior, just as sin is; therefore, we must unlearn sin and learn righteousness. To be righteous, we must study God's will and learn to do right (James 1:21-22). Righteousness is turning away from sin to do right; it involves repentance. There is a commendable saying, "I'll not make that same mistake again!" Such a statement expresses a bold and courageous determination to do better, but we must not forget that the devil can also be incited by it to attempt to bring us to an even greater downfall. When we clean our houses (souls), we must also fill them with righteousness (Luke 11:24-26). "Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more evil than himself; and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man becometh worse than the first." We are righteous only as we learn and put into practice right doing, and our heavenly Father takes notice and counts us righteous (Romans 1:16-17).

Optimism is a bright outlook toward things. Paul states, "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31). There is no greater majority in fighting failures and mistakes than God and I. Paul in his Philippian letter was able to say, "I can do all things in Him that strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). In his last epistle he declared, "I know Him who I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12). That means to the end, therefore, is God and righteousness.

Many elections have been won by presidential candidates who lost in previous bids for office. We constantly read biographies and autobiographies of successful people who at one point of life had nothing or had lost everything. They simply picked themselves up, adopted optimism, moved positively forward with determination, and vigor and in due time met success. Think of how many athletes there have been that first experienced failure before they met success.

A New Year is a good time to consider mistakes and failures of the past year, but we must be careful not to let them "hold us back and defeat us. By grasping a bright outlook of optimism toward the days ahead, coupled with a strong determination that God and I working together, ultimately we will meet success; our goal can be realized.Image

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