A new year brings a new start. It is a catalyst for change. It is a beginning. It is fresh. And we get so excited about the opportunity for a do-over.
But every moment is a do-over for us through Christ.
The refreshment a new year brings reminds me of the refreshment Christ brings. Yet, Christ is more than a mere refreshment.
At the new year, we may have a new mindset, and we may truly be in the process of changing. But, we are yet to be changed. We are still digging our way out of the hole. We are still carrying around past follies. We are still making restitution for our failings. Even with a changed mentality; even with different habits; even with new decisions, we begin the new year where we left off—hopeful to not remain there.
This is not so with Christ.
Christ does not just alter our old heart; Christ gives us a new heart. Christ does not solely forgive us only to leave us to continue carrying around our blemishes from our past misdeeds; Christ wipes our slate clean. Christ does not dust us off and leave us where we are; Christ propels us forward through His Spirit within us. Our Lord does not take our burdens to later return them to us. God does not create us anew to trudge through life only to become tainted again.
Christ renews us inwardly day by day. In Christ, we are perpetually new--forever. I am not who I was yesterday, and I am not who I will be tomorrow. And neither are you.
While it is one thing to deal with effects of our past—indeed we must take responsibility—we do not have to bear the spiritual burdens of our past. Therefore, I implore you to stop lugging around your prior misdeeds. And I am not just talking about sin. I encourage you to let go of the condemnation, of the discouragement, of the disappointment, of the regrets, of the guilt, of the anger, of the “the what ifs,” of the “should haves,” of the old, of the past pain, of the enemy’s lies, of the unforgiveness, and of the bitterness.
Praise God that in Christ Jesus, at this very moment, we are new. We are free. Let us start living like it.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).
“[A]s far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12 NIV).
Speaking of a new year, my husband suggested I give up coffee for my New Year's resolution. I could easily give up coffee. I would have no withdrawals whatsoever. I would be a very happy person. It would just ruin this ministry--and I would not do that to you guys.
And I am not justifying anything.
Much love to you,