Happy New Year!
Want the new year to be better than the last?
That's what most of us strive for each year though
I dare say, few of us achieve very impressive results.
God has a different idea - instead of trying to make the
new year better, make it... well,
In Christ You
Are a New
"Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone,
the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17
As we turn our calendars over
and embark on another new year, our thoughts turn
to starting over, making things better in the
coming year, resolving to change things in our
lives. Often these efforts are short-lived and
have little lasting positive effect. The Bible has
much to tell us about making a new start that can
make this New Year truly different. Let's look at
the typical approach to effecting change in our
lives and compare it to God's approach.
Approach 1: Changing the
One approach to making changes in our
lives is to focus on the negative things in our
lives and attempt to change them for the better.
This seems rather intuitive and there is no
shortage of self-help books, tapes, and lectures
that will prescribe this approach. So why does it
so often fail us? Because it operates under the
direct influence of our sinful human nature. We
enter an improvement plan with a lot of enthusiasm
and energy but over time we gradually revert back
to old habits and behaviors. What really happens
underneath is we are in a continual battle with
the very sinful nature that drew us into the
negative behaviors in the first place and we
simply tire from the fight and relent. We are
trying to change the old.
Approach 2: Replace the old with the
God's approach to improvement and
positive change is completely different. It starts
with the word that is central to all of God's
activity - "new."
God is the eternal expert on 'new.' All of
creation was spoken into being by God - made
new by God Himself. And God is continually making
things new all the time. Let's look at some ways
He does this:
New Mercies - God extends
new mercy to us each day (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Each day is a new opportunity to receive His
lovingkindness and to start fresh. Nothing that
has happened in the past, whether on the previous
day or in years past, can in any way remove the
love and forgiveness He has ready and waiting,
simply for the asking. To God, every day is
New Year's Day, filled with the opportunity and
promise that we tend to assign only to January 1!
New Hearts - God does not
promise to change our hearts, He promises to give
us new hearts and then fill them with His Spirit!
(Ezekiel 36:26) The Bible likens our human, sinful
hearts to stone - hard to penetrate, hard to
change. So rather than offering to chisel
away at it, He offers to take it away and replace
it with a heart that is soft, pliable and able to
contain His Spirit - His very power to help us
focus on those things that He focuses on.
New Creations - Armed
with new hearts that are filled with His Spirit,
acutely aware of His never ending mercies, we are
not who we used to be, drug down by our sinful
nature, but we are new creations, reborn into new
lives. (John 3:3) God sent His Son Jesus into the
world for the very purpose of making us new. (John
3:16) Jesus taught that patching the old wasn't
the answer, but being made new in Him was the key
This new year, you can truly
change things by giving the old to God and letting
Him replace it with the new. That's the truth.
If you are
in Christ, you have a new, soft
heart filled with His Spirit.
Your old hard heart of stone
is gone! If you are in Christ,
you can confidently receive His
new mercies every day. You don't
have to wait for another New Year's Day to
come around in order to start over! If
you are in Christ,
you are a whole new creation. The
old you is gone, the new
you has come!
YouTruth. In Christ,
You Are A New
©2007 Dan Buckhout
Scripture taken from the Holy
Bible, New International Version®
1973, 1978, 1984 by Internatonal Bible
Used by permission of
International Bible Society.