People often enjoy the beginning of a new year because it offers the opportunity to start over. The calendar resets and so do all the diets, exercise regimes, and Bible Reading Plans. We feel like we have a fresh start to succeed at all the resolutions we failed to do last year. We tell ourselves that this year, things will be different.
we cannot undo the past
Of course, we do not actually get to start over just because a new year has. Say we gained twenty pounds last year. We can start a new diet, but we will start it twenty pounds heavier than we did the year before. If we are in debt because of poor discipline in our spending habits, we can try to live on a budget, but the debt does not immediately disappear after we decide to make this change.
Although we cannot undo the past, we can begin to approach life in a different way. A new year provides a great opportunity to do that.
In starting over, we cannot pretend things will automatically be different. If we are to be successful in changing past behaviors, we need to be careful not to disregard the past. It is important for us to take a good look at how and why things were the way they were.
Why did I fail last year’s diet?
Why am I still not in good physical shape?
What caused me to buy things I could not afford?
Why was I not resolved enough to keep my resolutions?
We must look at our failures and grow from them. By learning how and why we failed previously, we learn to not do the same things again.
But, that’s not all. If we are Believers, God has given us another opportunity to start over that applies to us every day, not just on January first. When we give our lives to Jesus Christ, we are made into new creations with new hearts, lives, and beginnings. Then, when we confess and turn away from our sin, God forgives us in such a complete way that it is as if we had never sinned. He separates our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. Our past actions may adversely impact our relationships with others, our health, our financial situation, and many other aspects of our lives, but if we are Christians, they do not affect our relationship with God.
Because He is willing and able to help us change, or even change us, we have the freedom to begin to live differently. We can be more disciplined, more loving, and more giving. We can be different, redeemed, and transformed. Through Christ, God enables us to start over and live differently. And that change can begin NOW.