It’s the new year and I’m supposed to love having this fresh new start. This new calendar. This time to review the prior year, evaluate the successes and make adjustments to the failures of the past. The New Year is supposed to encourage us to look with hope to the future and make plans and goals for the next 12 months to be better than we were before. Being a better wife, mom, Christian, co-worker, friend, or neighbor is a great ambition…so why do I feel trepidation? Hesitancy? Fear? Why does the New Year create such anxiety in my soul?
The short answer is…because I know myself too well. I know that there have been many “resolutions” over my 47 new years and almost all of them have failed to come to fruition. I know that my flesh is weak, and it won’t be long before my very sincere desire to lose weight evaporates at the first whiff of Dunkin Donuts. Or my commitment to spend more time with loved ones is erased by the first crisis at work. Or that my desire to write and share the love of God with a lost world is swallowed up in my own selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed life.
I know myself too well, and my little-old-self often feels like a failure…so why even try?
If you’re like me, we know our own weaknesses and fleshly battles very well, and we’ve got the scars to prove it. Some scars are visible, on the surface where everyone can see them. Some scars are deep; wounds so horrendous and painful, some of our own making and some others have inflicted, and they are hidden, in the dark, where we refuse to let others go. And some of those scars are reopened by our own weaknesses and failures. So we avoid the opportunity to stretch and expand and expose those wounds to the air.
We know where we fail. We know where we give up. We believe, mistakenly, that we can’t be trusted with The New and may even believe we don’t deserve The New.
Yet, as humans don’t we love New Things? I know I do! I love a new hairdo, a new car…oh the smell! A new dress. A new appliance. A new home. New furniture. A new family member. A new baby. A new experience.
New things are wonderful, especially in a world where old things wear out and fall apart so fast. However, if I’m asked to embrace The New in me…well…that is out of bounds and honestly, asking a bit much. Right? Well…
The Scriptures have a lot to say about New Things and it may not be as frightening as we think. New Things are FOR US. The New gifts don’t depend on the month on the calendar, or the state of our obedience or the goals or plans in our planners or on our to-do lists. They are promises from the heart of our loving Savior, who purchased these gifts with His own blood, sweat and tears.
God is not just a healer. Not just a fixer. Not just a balm or a band-aid, He is the creator of the New. And a re-creator of the old. And, as any artist knows, you cannot be a creative person, and not create. Your spirit will die a slow, painful death if you do not express your creativity in some tangible way. Our God is THE CREATOR. He doesn’t just take the old and refurbish it…He takes the old and makes it BRAND NEW. And He does this in one way…by faith.
Looking at the new year ahead, instead of being afraid of the “patch and repair” method of character building, we can have faith that our creator God is making us brand new.
Scripture has a lot to say about Gods love of, and ability to, create us anew.
The word NEW (Kainos) means…new in respect of quality, “the new as set over against that which has seen service, the outworn, or marred through age”. Do you feel too marred to be restored? Too worn out to be purposeful?
Let me encourage you…you aren’t! You can be made new each and every day. My favorite author says it this way, “In every human being He discerned infinite possibilities. He saw men as they might be, transfigured by His grace—in “the beauty of the Lord our God” (Psalm 90:17). All defects of character originate in the heart. Pride, vanity, evil temper, and covetousness proceed from the carnal heart unrenewed by the grace of Christ. It is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this bad habit or that bad habit and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart….The Scriptures are the great agency in this transformation of character. Christ prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17)
God says, if we are His, He has not only re-created us, but He has created and given us New Things…. “a new song” Jeremiah 31:31, “a new spirit” Ezekiel 11:19, “new heart” Ezekiel 36:26, “the new moon,” Genesis 29:14 , “new (sweet) wine” Nehemiah 10:39, Joel 1:5; 3:18, “new commandment” John 13:34, “new doctrine” Acts 17:19, “new thing” Acts 17:21, “newness of life” Romans 6:4, “newness of the spirit” Romans 7:69, “a new name,” Revelation 2:17; 3:12, “new heavens and a new earth” 2 Peter 3:13, “new Jerusalem” Revelation 3:12; 21:2, “new song” Revelation 5:9, “a new and living way” Hebrews 10:20.
“If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, The old things have passed away; behold, they are become new”. The new year is a great time to ask ourselves, “am I IN CHRIST?” If so, we are new creatures. If not, we need to make sure we run, not walk, not crawl, not dawdle…but RUN…to our Savior!
Today, I pray that we will embrace The New, love the New Things that God is going to do in our lives, and anticipate with gladness The New blessings that God is preparing for those that love and trust Him. Do not be discouraged by the past, or weakened by infirmities, but remember that we are re-created, brand new, each day we walk in the free and loving mercy and grace of our Creator God.
I wish you a very happy new year in Christ!