Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come 2 Corinthians 5:17
Many weeks have passed since the beginning of this new phase of my life. In the midst of packing, loading, unpacking, organizing, and calling a multitude of people for assistance in turning on utilities and changing addresses, we have finally moved in to our new home. Although we are often searching for a missing item that is in a box, we are in the process of “settling in” to our new house as we also settle in to a new year.
A mere four weeks ago, we, along with most people, were stating perhaps unreachable or unattainable resolutions for the new year. As a new year begins, we examine what we have not yet achieved in the past year or years. We resolve to be better, laugh more, love more, and at some level, become more disciplined in eating and exercising.
This time of year can be useful for examining our own Christian hearts and actions. Are there areas in which we are weak? For me, this examination revealed several ugly habits. So many, that to list them all would take up the rest of this blog post. Where do we begin when an honest evaluation reveals so many things we don’t do, things we don’t do regularly, or things we do too much that we shouldn’t do at all?
Thinking always of ourselves before others. Thinking always of ourselves before God. Being too busy to walk closely with God. Avoiding the work we need to do each day. And on and on. An honest examination can be devastating. It can cause us to become uneasy, shameful, and filled with guilt. Don’t go down that unproductive road. That road goes to depression and lack of action. If, instead, we follow the example set before us in the Scripture, we know that we must acknowledge these weaknesses. Ask forgiveness of those who we might have offended or hurt, and ask for God to forgive us as well. And, with all our heart and mental intention, avoid those same bad habits in the future. This is the beginning of a new beginning. This is the process that provides a true renewal.
To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness Ephesians 4:22-24
As Christians, starting over is an important part of our grace. We repent. We ask forgiveness from God who gave us forgiveness and grace through His Son. And, we are truly born again. We can begin again because of His grace. So in this new year, we thank God that it is not through our good deeds or work that we are worthy of God’s love, but through grace, the greatest gift of all, that we can be forgiven and begin again.
And from his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace John 1:16.
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