Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I don’t as a rule. But I do have projects or habits I wish to continue in the New Year. I have also chosen a word to pursue as an ever-increasing characteristic in my life next year. I have chosen “Joy” or rejoice as part of the fruit of the Spirit to live more intentionally. I am carrying along previous year’s words of “faithfulness, kindness and gentleness.”
I tend to watch news too much. The treads running through news programs are: pain, destruction, fear, crisis, illness, scandal and happy. You can choose you own, but clearly the attention and headline grabbers are all negative, except happy.
We say, “Happy New Year!” The ball comes down at Times Square and clocks tick midnight around the world, ushering in a new year. The old is gone, the new has come. But has anything really changed? Do you still have the same bad habits and relationships? Is the world still a mess? It is hard not to answer yes to these questions. So what do we need to do to change things? How about trying harder to be happy? Yes, we can develop disciplines that will help us lose weight or exercise more in the New Year. Some might try to read more or even start going to church. But do these things really change you to be new?
There is really only one thing we can do to become brand new. That is to respond “yes” to the invitation to join the family of Christians, to be a “child of God,” to be “born again.” “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). God created all people, but not all are children of God. Paul talked a lot about becoming new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Corinthians 5:17). This speaks of our pasts being forgiven and how our way of life will be totally changed.
This passage from old to new is a spiritual one that changes all things in the life of a believer. This is a change that he speaks of in Romans 12:1 wherein we are “transformed by the renewing of your minds.” This is a process of leaving our conforming to the world to a new one of pleasing God and doing His will as the Bible details. This is not magic or something we can buy, this is giving our lives over to the One who made us in the way He designed. This is the “new creation” that brings peace and mercy through the circumcision or surgery on the heart as Galatians 6:15 tells us. The world has been cut out of us. We may be in the world, but not of it. You will become set apart, alien and brand new.
So, what do you choose? Do you want the same all problems and solutions or a whole new view and perspective on all things? I for one am joyful in the New Year that I have chosen God as my Good Shepherd and I will want for nothing. He is my guide, guardian, leader and power within me through His Holy Spirit. This world is a mess within which to live. “But Jesus looked at them (the disciples) and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26). Happy New Year!