“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17
As we turn our calendars over and embark on another new year, our thoughts turn to starting over, making things better in the coming year, resolving to change things in our lives. Often these efforts are short-lived and have little lasting positive effect on our lives. The Bible has much to tell us about making a new start that can make this New Year truly different. Let’s look at the typical approach to bringing about change in our lives and compare it to God’s approach.
Approach 1 : Changing the old
One approach to making changes in our lives is to focus on the negative things in our lives and attempt to change them for the better. This seems rather intuitive and there is no shortage of self-help books, tapes, and lectures that will prescribe this approach. So why does it so often fail us? Because it operates under the direct influence of our sinful human nature. We enter an improvement plan with a lot of enthusiasm and energy but over time we gradually revert back to old habits and behaviors. What really happens underneath is we are in a continual battle with the very sinful nature that drew us into the negative behaviors in the first place and we simply tire from the fight and relent. We are trying to change the old.
Approach 2: Replace the old with the new
God’s approach to improvement and positive change is completely different.
It starts with the word that is central to all of God’s activity – new. God is the eternal expert on ‘new.’ All of creation was spoken into being by God, everything made new by God Himself. And God is continually making things new all the time. Let’s look at some ways He does this:
New Mercies – God extends new mercy to us each day (Lamentations 3:22-23). Each day is new opportunity to receive His lovingkindness and to start fresh. Nothing that has happened in the past, whether on the previous day or in years past, can in any way remove the love and forgiveness He has ready and waiting for us is each day. To God, every day is New Year’s Day, filled with the opportunity and promise that we tend to assign only to January 1!
New Hearts – God does not promise to change our hearts, He promises to give us new hearts and then fill them with His Spirit! (Ezekiel 36:26) The Bible likens our human, sinful hearts to stone, hard to penetrate, hard to change, well, just simply hard like stone. So rather than offering to chisel away at it, He offers to take it away and replace it with a heart that is soft, pliable and able to contain His Spirit – His very power to help us focus on those things that He focuses on.
New Creations – Armed with new hearts that are filled with His Spirit, acutely aware of His never ending mercies, we are not who we used to be, drug down by our sinful nature, but we are new creations, reborn into new lives. (John 3:3) God sent His Son Jesus into the world for the very purpose of making us new. (John 3:16) Jesus taught that patching the old wasn’t the answer, but being made new in Him was the key (Matthew 9:17).
This new year, you can truly change things by giving the old to God and letting Him replace it with the new. That’s the truth.
If you are in Christ, you have a new, soft heart filled with His Spirit. The old hard heart of stone is gone! If you are in Christ, you can confidently receive His new mercies every day. You don’t have to wait until another New Year’s Day to come around in order to start over! If you are in Christ, you are a whole new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!
That’s the YouTruth. In Christ, You Are A New Creation.