The beginning of each year is often used as a way of measuring progress, that is, where a person has been headed. In fact, the New Year is a terrific place for starting over. It is an occasion designed precisely for a renewal and/or a fresh start. I don’t know if Paul ever preached a New Year’s sermon, but I do know that two pithy phrases appear in Philippians 3:13 that give profound insight for any successful beginning or new renewal; phrases that are intensely significant for starting over.
The church is often at odds with its surrounding culture. That was true in the first century, and it is true in America today. As in the first century, the church’s response to the demands of our secular culture to cease and desist is to mirror the response of the first believers when the movement began nearly two thousand years ago.