It’s that time of year again where we go through the annual ritual of ‘starting’ over or new or again or whatever else feels like a new beginning. The calendar on the wall is fat with potential and every magazine in the mailbox promises any number of ways to start fresh in the new year. This chronological approach to a new life might be effective for some, but for most people, a new life or even some minor tweaks based upon the turning of the calendar is usually a distant memory by Groundhog Day.
New life, new habits, new attitudes, new anything is rooted in a change of heart. To change, the heart must be fully aware that you cannot remain who, what or where you are today any longer. As long as reverting to your current situation remains a viable option our hearts, more often than not, will seek that escape route. Only when we come to accept, and even enjoy, the notion that the ground we are currently resting upon is crumbling away will we make the changes that we want to make.
Here’s where the true Christian has an advantage not shared by others. Our foundation has already been stripped away and replaced.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Read that promise again and again until it becomes cemented at the center of your being. You are no longer bound to your previous habits, shackled to your history of sin or held captive to the choices that she once made. The hard part of starting over has already been done for you by the incredible mercy and grace of God. If your goal is to be a different person then begin, not by outlining the changes that you think are expected of you, but by realizing and believing that you already are a different person. If it’s a habit that you want to break or be rid of them began by believing that you are already a new creation not encumbered by your old habits.
If you say that you can’t stop doing this or stop acting like that then you are absolutely correct. You cannot unless you can will your heart to change first. The true Christian is one who recognizes their dependence on God. Change is not an effort of self, change is an abiding belief in whom God says that you are.
We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
The calendar is not totally without use. Turning the page from December to January is a good reminder that God is the father of new beginnings. More importantly, the calendar and especially the annual changing of the year is a reminder that is subtle but incredibly powerful. The reason that the number on the calendar reads 2017 is because that many years ago humankind marked the entrance of the single most transformative human life that will ever exist. Jesus enters the world and everything starts new. Jesus enters your world and you become a new creation.