Step Into Newness

The midnight clock strikes. The door to the new year has just opened. You don’t see anything ahead because nothing has happened yet. It’s also a brand-new day. It has never happened before.

Imagine that. A new day and a new year.  A clean slate. Or is it?

You may fear what happened yesterday will roll into and spoil today. Or will it? There’s a hope that today will be better than yesterday, and that this year will be a better year than the last.

Many of us look at the past year with sorrow and regrets of how we messed things up.

Yes, we can have a clean slate.

While we can’t change what we did, what we can do is step through that newly opened door and begin to produce a better day and year.

This isn’t wishful thinking or banked on empty promises. The proof is in the Bible which is full of promises that never fail by the One who created you, the world and the universe.  

If you are not a Christian, read on how He can change you, your life, and make your days and new year much brighter.

If you are already a Christian and stumbled enough you feel too ashamed to approach Him, read on and be encouraged by His promises.

First, regardless whether you are a Christian or not, God loves you and would rather have you than not. He created you, and died for you. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” and in Revelations 1:18, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

The power to help you overcome

He has the power to help you overcome what keeps you down and to raise you up to new heights to stand free, stronger and happier. He wants to help you and to be part of your life every moment, every day.

This is available for those who feel weighed down by their guilt and shame, and for those who want to know Him, regardless of their past, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“ Lamentations 3:22-23.

A new mindset

“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” Col 3:9-10

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:12

His Spirit fills our thoughts. Our thoughts develop into His fruits and turn our actions into loving others. “Let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8

When we treat others with love, we lift them up. We start a positive chain reaction that makes their day, as well as ours, happier. Loving others – our family, our boss and coworkers, friends and strangers – strengthens relationships and lends to brighter days.

Many of us cringe when we reflect on last year because we did not love, and have fears creeping into our new year as a result.

Freeing the new year from the past

Regardless of what holes we dug ourselves into from last year we can prevent ourselves from hitting rock bottom. Even if we did hit rock bottom, we can dilute or even reverse the mess we created.

How? Forgiveness. Jesus commands us to forgive others, He also commands us to ask others for forgiveness. Because God is love, and love is priority to Him (two of God’s greatest commandments, love Him first and love others). Jesus said we are to go quickly to reconcile with them.  “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

He didn’t say to wait and try at some time in the future when you’re up to it. He said to go quickly. To drive the point home, he continued, “Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.” Matthew 5:25

You may not have done something to land you in prison – or you may have – but because of love, you don’t want anger and hurt feelings festering in that person. You can save a lot of heartache if you act quickly.  

The contrary is true. If we are seething at someone else, and your offender seeks your forgiveness, you must forgive. “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4

Also, God said he would not forgive you if you don’t forgive others. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

A new hope

However, you can begin a new, or renew, your relationship with Christ and be reconciled to Him.  2 Chronicles 7:14 provides the steps to a better year and life, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

A new you

The fruits of God’s spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

As we grow in Christ,  His fruits also  grow in us and positively impacts us and those around us. Because we improve as we become more like Christ, our year will improve.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

A new year and life full of blessings

Every day is a new day. When following Christ, each day gets better as we grow in Him. The opposite is also true. Our past may be dark because of the kind of seeds we planted. “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.”  Galatians 6:7b-8a

If we continue this route, this year won’t be any different and can turn for the worst.

However, “The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:8b-9

A clean slate

When God forgives our sins and remembers them no more (Hebrews 8:12, Hebrews 10:17, Jeremiah 31:34, Isaiah 43:24, Psalm 103:12) we have a clean slate and a new life. We no longer live for us but for the One who made us. With a new year ahead of us, we can trust Him when He says, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5). It’s a promise not only for the future, but also in the way we live when we grow in Him and share love. Open the door and step into newness with Christ and experience love, joy and peace.

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