Bringing in the New Year

Bringing in the New Year

What is it about a new year that brings such anticipation?  I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but it’s really just a date on the calendar where we stop counting one numerical year and change to the next.  It’s merely one more complete revolution around the sun. The new year only has the meaning that we give to it.

I think the reason we make such a big deal about the new year is because we all have an inherent need for renewal.  When we change the calendar on the wall, we can mentally and emotionally throw away what didn’t go so well last year and put up new hopes of a better year to come.  Everything that fell short of our expectations last year is over and tomorrow is a new day — or better yet, a whole new year.  

I don’t know about you, but that new year optimism doesn’t seem to last as long as I’d like.  If you’ve ever resolved to exercise more in the new year (and you actually stuck with it), you might have noticed that the crowd at the gym wanes around the last week in January.  Under our own power, we don’t seem to get very far — at least I don’t.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had that sense of optimism and the hope of something better on the horizon every day, or at least most days?

Actually, we can — with Jesus.  We are permanently renewed when we choose to follow Jesus as our savior.  To add icing to the cake, we are continually renewed through our repentance and his forgiveness.  But wait; there’s more. Every time we grasp onto a new spiritual truth from his word and make it part of our lives, we transform into something better, more Christ-like.

In Romans 12:2, Paul appeals to the believers to “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  (emphasis mine)

Every time we conform ourselves to God’s will, rather than the world, we are transformed and renewed closer yet to his likeness.  The renewal we crave with the passing of every new year is the kind of renewal only Jesus can provide. As a believer, we have instant access to this renewal through prayer.  1 John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now that’s genuine renewal.  Be of good cheer.

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