MAKING A NEW START
Growing up, my family wasn’t into traditions in any serious way. We didn’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving, we didn’t do Easter baskets, and we didn’t make New Year’s resolutions. I was close to 20 years of marriage before it occurred to me that resolution-making could be a good habit to form. Sitting my four sons down, and coercing my husband to join in, I passed out paper and pens and commanded, “Write!” Of the collection, only one paper had merit, “Catch more butterflies.” We never engaged in that exercise again.
For better or for worse, for fun or for profit, making resolutions dominates the turn of each year. It’s logical. New year, new start; out with the old, in with the new. And so each January folks work fervently to improve life with a simple statement of intent. There’s been a whole year to mess up, and clearly some changes should be made. Why not now?
I no longer disparage this. New starts are good. They help us shore up our way of life and move on to better living. The problem is, “better” is a relative term. It merely implies that there is some improvement. We rarely make great strides. And we never get to “best.” I for one need lots of improvement. An impossible dream? Oh, yeah! But God is the master of handling the impossible. That’s why I need Him in my life so seriously.
The Lord tells us in His Word that He can take all our shortcomings, all our mistakes, all our failings and fix them. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Isn’t that exciting?
It’s the beginning of a new year now, but the date doesn’t matter, nor does the month. Each day is brand-new, an opportunity to turn things around and do what we know will be pleasing to God, whether it’s in our way of living, our relationship with others, or even in the very thoughts we think. He’s assigned to each of us the task of being His ambassador. We never applied for that job. We weren’t asked if we wanted it. It came along with the decision to believe in Jesus’ divinity and offer Him a place in our hearts.
Being an ambassador means we represent Jesus Christ to others. That’s a tall order for us, but not for God. For us to attain this lofty goal, the directive is clear: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV) God is here in our midst waiting for us to rely on Him to make the needed changes.
I can do that. Well, at least I can with God’s help.
Happy Renewing Year