Meditations on a New Year: Where the Real Beginning Is
My Befuddlement with New Year
The celebration of New Year Day sometimes befuddles me; I sometimes get the feeling from people I talk to that the prospect of a new year enables one to have a fresh opportunity to start something on a clean, fresh slate. A time where the old is gone and the new has come.
Then there are times when I feel like waiting until New Year to start something new, like fitness, a better diet, a blogging schedule, a devotional program. And in the meantime, I may binge on everything, and suck the marrow of the end of the year so I can start the New Year with at the hope of a 365-day streak of a zero fail resolution. I am aware of that at every new year approaching I'm filled with an illusion and false hope that "this is going to be the year where....[insert resolution/my dreams come true]"
Putting our hope on a New Year
Is it not true that we can look to the New Year as a definitive time where we can start something new or get a fresh start? I feel we hold big expectations in a New Year and thus put our hope in the wrong thing at New Year. Ought we not to put our hope in the One who can give us a clean slate and transforms us from the inside out?
It's not that it's a bad thing to have goals or new year's resolutions, but to look to the New Year as a definitive time for a new beginning will probably only lead to disappointment of a year marked by failure and a blemish to our 365-day streak. A new year led out by sheer will force usually, ends with disappointing expectations and a yearning for the next coming year to be better.
Being a New Creation in Christ: where the real beginning is.
I feel that a better goal or resolution anyone can make is not a New Year's Resolution, but a "New Day's Resolution". To simply make a resolve one day at a time about one thing at a time. To find the hope, not in a better you or a better year, but to put our hope in the One who can better us, who is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)
When we are in Christ, we become a new creation. Our sins and our old self passes away and we become a new creation with the confession and repentance of our sin to God our Father through Jesus Christ. God is the only one who can forgive us of our most wicked and darkest thoughts. He's the only one who can renew our hearts or minds. Our new beginnings start with Jesus and His forgiveness of our sins. It doesn't have to be a yearly thing, but a daily thing, a fresh start, moment by moment.
You're probably familiar with this line from what they call "The Lord's Prayer."
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:11-12, ESV)
When Jesus shows us to ask God for our daily bread, it's not just our daily needs; He's asking us to pray for the 'Bread of Heaven' or 'Bread of Life' that is Jesus himself. We need Jesus daily, to forgive our debts (our sins), which ultimately means we ought to seek Christ daily and repent daily.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:7-10, ESV)
Today is the day
Today is the day you can start afresh with God, and it's just a beginning of a relationship with your Creator who desires to be reconciled in a relationship, friendship and love with you.
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. (Psalm 95:7-9, ESV)
When Jesus is on the tallest part of your shelf and the highest of your own priorities, everything else falls into place. If Jesus is my everything, I make no false god of any relationship, item, ideal, dream, or desire. Only out of the overflow of a solid relationship with Jesus, will come everything else I need come to fruition.
Delight yourself in the Lord,and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4, ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33, ESV)
What are your thoughts on New Year? Do you have the same contention inside you about hoping for a new fresh start? Would love to hear your thoughts.