I love New Year’s. Not necessarily for the celebration. I’ve never been one to know how to throw exciting New Year’s Eve bashes. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to celebrate. But the past couple of years I think I fell asleep before the clock struck midnight and the New Year was ushered in.
I love the New Year because it is the turning of the page. It is the starting of something new. It is the wiping of the slate and the hit of the reset button. I think it is God’s gift to us to remind of us of His grace, to remind us He is the Creator and orchestrator of second chances and restarts.
And He knows that I am one who needs many of these restarts and much of His grace.
I’ve never been really big on making a New Year’s resolutions list, but I will say that I am so thankful for the sigh of relief that does come with Jan. 1. It is acknowledging that I can, if needed, if desired, start a new, but only with Christ’s help.
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul states that once we choose to step into the family of God, we are new creations IN CHRIST.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17-19
So often, we see the coming of a new year as a way to tackle all our problems. We grab a self-help book with fives steps to a more robust and healthy life, make some resolutions and off we go to conquer our world.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this pursuit. We should pursue the to have balanced, healthy lives. But when it is done in our own power with our own goals, we will eventually fail.
I am the queen of this. I love planning and strategizing ways to improve my life, find balance or help others. I am a girl with a natural aim for perfection, and then off I go, often on my own whims and without stopping to see what God is up to and to first let Him work in me.
So I often fail. I may hold my own for a while, but eventually I become so overwhelmed with making life better for myself, that I become miserable and break and realize I should have partnered with God from the beginning.
When we become followers of Christ, Paul tells us that there is a change and renewal happening in us, not through our own efforts or strategy, but simply because Christ is now in us. We must remember that the King of creation is the one flaking off the old layers and bringing out the new, bringing the balance that He desires us to have.
This doesn’t mean that when I surrendered all of me to Christ several years ago, that all is perfect and exactly right with me now. Not at all. I still wrestle with sin. I still get grumpy and snap at my husband at times. I still have days of being an inconsiderate friend.
What it now means is that I have a powerful Agent of Change working in my life if only I let Him. To be completely renewed where I look like Christ is a life-long process and one that won’t be fully completed until I am with Christ in heaven one day.
But all of this means I have a new identity that should cause major change in my life. Christ sees me as washed clean, made new and ready to serve Him. Once we realize we are new creations in Christ, we can become His ambassadors, taking this message to a world caught up in self-help cycles.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:20-21
We live in a world where many have no clue they have the chance to become a new creation. They are caught up in New Year’s revolutions and self-help books, grasping at anything and everything that they think will fill the void, fill the longing for love and acceptance, assurance and forgiveness we all have.
They long for something more, a better version of themselves, and they will never get there without the True Creator bringing the change.
So as the New Year is settling in and you are contemplating changes to make in the coming months, remember that you are a New Creation through Christ and don’t try to make those changes on your own. Remember your identity and let Christ work in you.
Remember that you are equipped to do His ministry because He is here with you, guiding and helping you through His Spirit. And remember that so many others right near you need to know that they can be new creations too.
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