A New Year: A New Beginning
by: Al and Lisa Robertson
A reboot! A new start! A fresh beginning! How about a New Season (the title of one of our earlier books)?
Who hasn’t longed to go back in time and undo decisions made years ago that set us up for heartaches and failures that dogged us for years and even decades? Someone told us once, “I love your testimony, but I wouldn’t want it for myself.” And the truth is, we wish that our testimony involved a lifetime of perfect obedience.
But truthfully, no one’s testimony is like that. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Even the most spiritually mature people we know have regrets about past moral and spiritual failures. That’s certainly true of us.
The good news is that our God is a god of new beginnings. He doesn’t define us by our past mistakes and failures. Not when we call on his name and believe in our hearts that Christ was crucified for us and was raised from the dead. No! He’s all about fresh starts.
That same verse that says that we are all sinners (Romans 3:24) leads to the next verse which tells us that we are all (all of us “sinners”) justified freely by the grace of Jesus Christ (verse 24). The argument Paul is making here isn’t that we are made right by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and correcting our mistakes by our own power. Instead, we are made right by God’s mercy, and it is his grace that teaches us to be new people (Titus 2:11-14).
The New Year is a time when a lot of folks make “resolutions” about changes they are going to make in the coming year. Our failure to keep those resolutions has become a joke — a cliché. Many make them, but few keep them.
But God, by his grace, has promised New Life to those who respond to the gospel. We don’t pay for our own failures — Christ does. He makes us new. He gives us new life (Romans 6:1-4) when we are immersed in the personhood of Jesus and put our old selves with our old strategies for dealing with life out of commission. Paul says that our old self was “crucified” with Christ when we began to worship Christ instead of ourselves.
The good news is that this is something we can experience on any day of the year. No need to wait until New Year’s Day to become a new person. Jesus and his grace transcend the calendar.
Having said that, we think that the New Year offers us an opportunity to take inventory of our lives and make new decisions that bring about a New Season in our lives. This is about more than repairing broken marriages, even though it certainly applies. No, it’s about giving up on ourselves and allowing the transforming power of Christ to make us new people — to give us new life. It’s about getting the opportunity for a reboot — a fresh start in a way that can’t be obtained in any other way.
We want to encourage you to allow God to bring about the changes in your life that he wants to see in you. And if truth be told, these are changes that you’ve been wanting to make for a long time too. Don’t waste the moment. Humble yourself before God and pray for him to give you a fresh start — TODAY!