So this is the new year. Now what?
Many of us look at this time of year as a fresh start. As the calendar turns, we tend to shift our focus and plans. Many of us analyze and reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly in our lives. From this might come a sense of anticipation for what a new year could bring or even disappointment for what last year did not bring.
Are you coming off a year when life threw you some curveballs? Maybe your finances spiraled out of control or your marriage hit rock bottom. Maybe you lost your job or decided to leave your church. Maybe a close friendship faded and needs mending.
Do you feel stuck? Do you need a fresh start?
Honestly, I don’t know if your fresh start will come from the calendar flipping to January. I think it comes when we ask God to guide our steps. It comes from the knowledge that through Christ, a fresh start is always available to us. It comes from a sense of purpose and hope that can only come through a growing relationship with Christ. And it comes when we admit that we need God’s strength.
In Isaiah 43, God declares that he is doing a new thing: “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there” (Isaiah 43:18b-19).
In my own life, I often pray that God would bless my plans. But what if I prayed “Your will be done in my life” (Matthew 6:10) or “Create in me a pure heart” (Psalm 51:19) or “Turn my eyes away from worthless things” (Psalm 119:37) or “Don’t let me stray from your commands" (Psalm 119:10)?
When we shift the focus of our prayers from our will to his, things change. Our eyes start to open to new possibilities. This year could hold the fresh start we’re looking for—and it starts with realigning our hearts.
- Isaiah 43:18b-19 (GNTD)
Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already—you can see it now! I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.
- Philippians 4:12-13 (GNTD)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
- Psalm 51:10 (GNTD)
Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GNTD)
Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.
- Hebrews 12:1b-2a (GNTD)
So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.
- Psalm 119: 4-5 (GNTD)
Lord, you have given us your laws and told us to obey them faithfully. How I hope that I shall be faithful in keeping your instructions!
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