Make these three changes tomorrow

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 31, 2016

One of my favorite musical groups is the Irish band U2. One of their songs is entitled “New Year’s Day.” In it, Bono laments, “Nothing changes on New Year’s Day.”

Well, that can be true for you. If you regard the beginning of a new year as nothing but another date on the calendar, then nothing will change. But if you will use this time to take stock of where you are, a lot can change in 2017.

In a coastal area like ours, boats have to come into dry dock occasionally. It allows barnacles to be scraped off the bottom, so the boats can glide through the water. What if you use the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to come into dry dock and scrape off those barnacles?

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The writer of Hebrews, in the New Testament, says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

In order to run successfully, we have to get rid of the sins that are clinging to us.

As we look to 2017, let’s throw off those sins that are clinging to us. Let’s subtract those things.

And let’s add some things. Here are a few ideas. First, if you don’t actively attend a church, begin attending one. The Bible never speaks of Lone Ranger Christians. We are commanded to be a part of a local family of believers, where the Bible is preached and we can find encouragement and Christian friends.

Second, begin to seriously read the Bible. There are any number of plans online that can help you read it all the way through in 2017. It doesn’t even take much time each day to do this, and it will open up a whole new world for you.

Third, begin to cultivate a relationship to God through prayer.

These things are basic. But there is a power in them.

Peyton Manning retired last year with the best statistics of any quarterback in the history of the NFL. His brother, Eli, is also an accomplished NFL quarterback. Both brothers have won two Super Bowls.

But both men quietly spent recent off seasons allowing “Coach Cut” to take them back to the fundamentals. “Coach Cut” is David Cutcliffe, who coached both men in college.

After Peyton was released by the Colts in 2012, many believed his career was over. But Coach Cut told him, “Your mechanics are all wrong.”

Cutcliffe got Peyton back to basics, and enabled him to win a second Super Bowl with the Broncos. He did the same with Eli after the 2013 season.

Why would two accomplished NFL veterans allow their passing motion to be taken apart and put back together? Because there is a power in getting back to basics.

I want to challenge you to do so this year. But be warned: You can’t do this alone. That’s why Hebrews 12:2 says we are to be “looking to Jesus” the whole time in this race.

Keep your eyes on Him. Draw near to Him. By His grace, this can be an incredible year for you.

Happy New Year!

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.