This year has been another uncertain year at best. With an unreliable economic forecast, political upheaval, and unprecedented spiritual warfare, it seems every area of our life has been disrupted.

Still, we are about to enter into a new year. Leaving one season, stepping into another. It’s important how we leave one season, for this is the same way we enter into the next.

Considering the challenges, we have walked through in the past few years, how do we enter into 2023 with great expectancy and hope?

The answer? We must look back to move forward.

While it is true that we are often told not to look back, at times it can prove beneficial.

Deuteronomy 6:12 says, Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

We must first remember it is God who has brought us through these past few years. Yes, it certainly had its challenges, but He remained faithful through it all.

Not only did He bring us through, but I believe He has wrought great change with an intense time of pruning in the Body of Christ. We are seeing the fruit of that pruning all across our nation.

We have seen an unprecedented increase in prayer across this nation.

We have witnessed people standing up for God and for what He has declared. People are refusing to settle for injustice. Instead, courage has arisen to stand firm in faith for righteousness to prevail. People are looking to God for His plan and purpose.

We can’t look back on this time without seeing the goodness and faithfulness of God all across this land.

We must, therefore, embrace this coming new year with peace, faith, and great anticipation. The question is, what do we take with us and what do we leave behind?

We take the true things with us.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phil 4:8

The true things are the faithfulness of God. The fruit that has been brought forth in each of our lives. We take with us the good change we have seen in the body of Christ.

I recently saw a sign that said, “I remember the day when I prayed for what I have now.” When I read those words, I was reminded of the many times we have prayed for God’s people to arise and pray. We are seeing the fruit of that prayer – and that is something we can take into this new year.

Let’s take with us the momentum the Body of Christ has gained as we have arisen, awakened, and are fervently praying.

Furthermore, we take with us hope. Hope and trust in God. The Bible says God’s kind of hope does not disappoint. We must believe that God has a good plan for us and our nation – and we must hold onto that hope without wavering.

Finally, we must take with us thanksgiving. We take gratitude and a thankful heart into the new year. Thankful for all the things God has brought us through. Thankful that He never once left us and He never will.

What do we leave behind?

The Bible says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.  Heb 12:1

The Passion Translation says it like this; As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So, we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.

May we lay aside every wound that has pierced us.

The last couple years have been filled with wounds of hurt, disappointment, anger, sickness, and fear. These things have been stoked and manipulated with constant lies from the media. We need not take these things with us. Lay them aside, do not allow them to hinder you from entering into the new year with great anticipation and faith. If you have been wounded by people, remember, hurt people hurt people. Let it go and love them unconditionally. Just as Christ loves us.

Yes, we can look back and thank God for His faithfulness. For His blessings and His goodness. We can and we should. But…it is also time to move forward.

Philippians 3:14 says, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

It’s time to press forward, fully into this new year. The new season—a time of great anticipation. A time of seeing God’s Word fulfilled. We will see our prayers answered in fulness. We have fought the good fight of faith. Together, we have stood firm. As we embrace 2023 may we purpose to hope against hope and see the promises of God manifest. May we enter this new year with thanksgiving for what is behind and move forward with anticipation toward the good things ahead.