“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
2020…you’re here. We’ve said goodbye to your older sister, 2019, and put away all her Christmas stuff. We’re ready now to embrace you, our new year and decade, with enthusiasm.
This is going to be THE year we get it right. THE year we get something meaningful accomplished. THE year we succeed with our diet, our exercise plans, our work promotion. THE year we restore lost relationships.
So, why does the excitement wear off so quickly? Why does this shiny-new-toy year fade so soon in our estimation? Why do we fail to get off the ground with our resolutions?
Easy. We humans are such a weakly lot. And we’re lazy. Fitness centers just love Jan. 1—they’ll sign you up with a year’s fee because they know you’ll vanish after the first few weeks. All it takes is a little discouragement, and we sink back into a languished, unproductive state.
Some of it has to do with the fact that a not-very-kind predecessor planted the first day of the year deep into the winter doldrums of short, cold days and long, colder nights. Even as I write, a chill is settling into my soul as I gaze out on a forlorn, bleak landscape. All I want to do is curl up in a cozy chair with a blanket and binge on fiction, movies, or popcorn, maybe all three. (This is for us residents in the upper part of the northern hemisphere…I know you folks in Florida and southward are laughing at us in your warm sunshine.) Doing something new right now is just too much work. And a lot of the problem is that we keep trying to make it happen in our own strength.
As Christians, though, we have a higher calling. We have a mandate from our heavenly Father to serve Him, even when we don’t feel like it. We have a promise from Jesus Christ that looks beyond our circumstances and weaknesses to His faithfulness.
Most importantly, we have a Holy Spirit who makes us into new creations…a Spirit who guides us, motivates us, and gives us purpose to keep going…if we ask Him to direct our paths.
Got a new resolution for 2020? Give it to Him. Seek His leadership and direction. Got some old unfinished business? Dust it off, look at it in a fresh light, and ask the Holy Spirit to open new doors. Gotten started on a new project but can’t keep going? Ask Him to light a fire in your heart, pave the way for success, or change your mission.
Do you find yourself without motivation, purpose, or self-control? Pray. Then get up. Take the first step. Then the next step. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Fix your eyes on the prize, even if it’s way over the mountains.
Are you still fighting old bad habits? Do you occupy the rut of making one bad decision after another? Do your relationships stink? Do you really want to be renewed? Take your plight to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him to breathe new life into your weary soul by the power of His Holy Spirit. Ask Him to effect real change in your heart.
Whatever you desire most for 2020, make it your keenest aim to draw closer to Him. As a Christian, you have the privilege to kneel at His feet, warts and all, and ask Him to give you a fresh start. Ask Him to put godly people in your path who will support you in your efforts. Seek godly mentors for prudent counsel, search the Scriptures for wisdom, and lean on Him for strength.
We can’t do this alone. Claim the privilege of being a child of God—and tap into His power to live the abundant life. He is faithful to hear and answer.
So here’s to you, 2020! You’re going to be a challenge, like every year before you. But we know who’s in charge of you, and He’ll walk with us every single day. Happy New Year! Happy new beginnings!
Holy Spirit, let us come before You to ask for a fresh start, not just for the year ahead but every single day. Rid our hearts of old sin patterns that hold us back from enjoying the abundant life You offer. Change us from the inside out, that we may become new creatures to serve You in sacrificial ways every day. Be our purpose, strength, wisdom, motivation, and direction in the coming year. With hope in our hearts, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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