Change Your Behavior In The New Year!

Change Your Behavior In The New Year!

Matthew 2:1-2:181After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod; Magi from the east came to Jerusalem2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” 3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:6” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,6are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;6for out of you will come a ruler6who will be the shepherd of my people Israel. “7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.{{more}}12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 18”A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, 18Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”This time of year, many people get around to making some “New Year’s Resolutions”. No doubt, some well intended resolutions that may last for a while, but not all resolutions get kept, and most have gone by the way side within just a few short weeks. But I want us as we beginning a New Year to think about changing behaviors in your lives that does not become a Christian lifestyle. To do that I want to look again at the story of King Herod and the Wise men.First, Herod said or did things to manipulate others. His behavior or actions were intended to influence others to his own advantage. He said He wanted to worship the Messiah, but his actions and words were intended to deceive others to manipulate them for information. How many people can you think of that use manipulative behavior on a regular basis? Or maybe youuse it yourself to influence others to your gain? People who enter into relationships solely to take advantage of the other person for their own gain. Ask yourself this question: Am In a relationship in which my actions try to manipulate others behavior or they try and manipulate me?For example a relationship that is based on manipulating others for money; sex; a divorced spouse who uses a child to manipulate their ex; or some other form of personal gain. Again, ask yourself, does the other person in the relationship try and control you? Or do you try and manipulate and control them?On the Christmas episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond”, Raymond was giving his wife a new set of pots for Christmas so that she would approve his request to go on a three day golf trip. He had the inside skinny that his wife was giving him a tie, and if he could out give her then he knew he would have the upper hand when he asked to go on the golf outing.As Raymond, his brother Robert and their dad talked out the plan, Raymond’s father interjected “I do not do that butter me up stuff to get what I want”. Robert then asks “Then how do you get what you want”. The dad responds back “I have learned to live without”. But later in the program he secretly gives his wife new pair of ear rings, and looking around for his sons, he tells his wife “If anyone asks, you did not get those from me”.Manipulate behavior, like Herod’s, is not appropriate for us in Christian lifestyle, and instead of making a resolution you should change your behavior in the New Year. Second, Herod pretended to be something that He was not. Pretended that he was seeking worshippers to get access to inside information. On the television show the “Pretender”, the main character Jared takes on a new role each episode and pretends to be something he is not: doctor; lawyer; scientist; lawman; whatever it takes to get the information he is seeking or help the person he is trying to help. Then, before those seeking him catch up to him, he scurries off to a new location to pretend all over again. But he has no real life; at least no life in which he is real.In the movie “Super Christian” there is a scene at the Church in which they show various members in Sunday School and worship, but many of them are shown as having masks on; someone claiming to be a Christian, but like Jared, or Herod, they seem to be pretending; or at least pretending that everything is all right in their life.But as Christians you should try to let your masks fall away; your walls fall down;and become real with Christ and others. For the New Year you should seek to change your behavior to be real with yourselves and those around us.Third, Herod was dangerous and violent. When he did not get His way he sought to ruin others lives by killing innocent children. It happens every day in homes that claim to be Christian homes: abuse; anger; manipulation; raised tempers; violence in some form, if albeit emotional abuse.In my days as a criminal investigator, most violence was perpetrated in the home, by either a family member or someone close to the family. “A recent survey on marital violence reports that approximately one in every seven American couples has used some form of physical abuse during an argument within the past year.” If we have 35 couples reading this message, at least five relationships had physical abuse within the last year. In an article in “Bottom Line”, they report “Children who see physical violence between their parents are six times more likely to abuse their own spouses after they marry. If those children were also hit by their parents as teenagers, they are 12 times more likely to abuse their spouses.”Bottom line, like Herod, you need to change your behavior in the New Year. Manipulations – Pretenders and any form of abuse or violence just should be eradicated from our lives and our lifestyles.It was not too long ago that some Highland Park residents were taken in by a manipulative pretender that soon married one of the town’s favorite daughters and made off with many of their savings. When this happens, people get hurt; relationships get destroyed; and it seems like a mountain to overcome for those who are left behind and try and pick up the pieces. Herod was no different. Who knows how many families were destroyed by the pretentions and violence perpetrated be Herod. But this is not what God wants for His people. Jesus came to bring peace among those whom he favors; and we should ourselves fashion our lives after Christ, and seek to change any behavior that does not represent Him. The behaviors that you need to change may not be manipulation or violence, perhaps you need to change behaviors that gossip, or use profane language, or any list of unchristian like behaviors that you exhibit.In other words, behavior is a “choice”, or how we behave is a choice; and if a choice then you can choose to change; and if you can choose to change, then why wait, but let us go ahead and make changes to our lifestyle for the New Year. Now we know about Changing Our Behavior in the New Year. Amen!