One Ministry, One Church, One Message Worldwide
For many of us, starting a new year means a chance to clear the slate and start over. Moving on from the clutter of past mistakes can seem like a breath of fresh air. The saying “out with the old, in with the new” takes on special significance for us as we look hopefully to the future. However, some of us may need some extra help in this area; for positive and permanent change in our lives, we need God.
When we trust in God, we don’t have to worry or be anxious about what the upcoming year may hold for us. His plans for us are always good. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”(Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV). He loves us and always wants the best for us. Believing this allows us to move confidently forward.
We might take a close look at ourselves and see all our imperfections and shortcomings looking back at us. Considering our failures from the past year, we may wish we could change into a different person and lead a brand new life. We can become new when we decide to make Jesus Christ our personal Lord and Savior. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We receive this newness when we’re born again by faith.
This new birth takes place on a spiritual level, and it brings radical change. It’s an acknowledgement of Jesus’ willingness and ability to intervene in our present lives. It also guarantees where we’ll live our lives in eternity. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Being born again changes us from the inside out because God, Himself, is now living in us.
We don’t have to be dragged down by our past sins and mistakes. When Christ is in us, our pasts no longer define us. Although we know we’ll make mistakes in the future, we must remember that we are not what we do, but who God says we are. “Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24, AMPC). We’re empowered to change our attitudes and mindsets because our old sinful natures have been exchanged for natures as perfect and sinless as God’s.
None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and if we want to become better persons than we were last year, there’s no time like the present. God made the apostle Paul, a former murderer, into a new man, and He can do the same thing with us; there is, however, a sense of urgency. “What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16, NLT). God is more than willing to get involved in this area. It’s up to us whether or not to welcome Him into our lives.