“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”2 Corinthians 5:17
So, you’ve likely heard the “new year, new me” mantra. By now, you‘ve likely determined what your goals or resolutions are for the year. And that’s great that you have it figured out, but I want you to consider what it’s going to take to get there. When something is new, it’s up-to-date, fresh, and ready for use. Think about when you get a brand-new phone; it comes meticulously wrapped in plastic, a sleek box, and needed instructions. You’re assured that no one else has used this device before and it’s in great condition to do what it is supposed to. The tedious process required to create the phone isn’t reflected in the final product. You have no idea the time, resources, and labor necessary to produce a new thing. Likewise, our newness in Christ mirrors this idea. Yeah, we’ve all made mistakes, have gone through trials and tribulations, have encountered unfavorable circumstances or situations. They have shaped our character and affected our mindsets and some of those aspects even physically alter our beings. However, when we made the decision to follow Christ and devote ourselves to Him, everything is changed. The mistakes we made are forgiven. Our imperfections don’t matter. Who we used to be, what we used to do are not held against us, and the holy spirit does a new thing in us. Like that brand new phone, we’re made new and have a new beginning.
The beginning suggests there is a middle and an end—that more is coming, there’s more to look forward to. The chance to start over should not be taken lightly. You should not let the opportunity pass you by. You’ve made the first step by establishing your goals; now you just have to start working toward them. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). It’s not enough to just have the idea; you have to actively go after it. Only you can turn your idea into a reality. Only you can decide to have a new beginning. Sure some things will take time, cost money, or require sacrifice, but you have to at least take the first step. This scripture advises us on how to do just that: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). In other words, we have got to let some things go and shift our focus to the future and what’s in front of us. So, you may think that you didn’t lose that weight you set out to last year, but with this new start, you can do it with a plan in place and a steadfast determination. You may have had a terrible attitude last year and mistreated some people but with this new beginning, you can treat others better and have a positive attitude. You may think that you procrastinated too much on things before, but with this second chance, you can plan to manage your time wisely and be punctual with your work.
The past does not dictate or define who you can become. Your mistakes do not determine who you can be. Your flaws do not seal your fate. Sure, you can see all of these statements as just words, but I can throw some truth in there too. God’s word decrees that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We can achieve our resolutions as long as we ask God to help us, have faith, and strive toward them. In this year of 2021, I simply want to encourage you to just start your new beginning, the goal, or the dream. Start making moves to get to where you want to go, no matter how big or small. Do not let how things may look –whether they are imperfections, flaws, roadblocks, or detours—keep you from going after what you desire. What God has for you is for you, and I’m even making a declaration and determination myself to go after and get all God has for me. Today is the new beginning to go after the goal: to do the work to obtain what you’re seeking. Remember that it is not enough to just set a resolution, but you have to do something about it. The following poem highlights this important point, and the song after just portrays a type of mindset to have for the year: to get everything that’s meant for me.
I could let my past define me.
Let the negative words of the enemy and the past failures confine me
To not achieve my dreams. That’d be easy:
To throw in the towel and succumb to defeat.
Use excuse after excuse for choosing what not to do
Or why the dream just won’t happen for you.
Yeah, it will be true if you choose not to move.
Don’t let you hinder you.
Don’t let the fear stop you.
Don’t let former mistakes entrap you.
Sure, sometimes the mistakes you make will be on a widescreen for everyone to see,
And they won’t let you forget who you used to be.
Then fall into the trap that those past mistakes wreaked irreparable damage and
You just have to accept the consequences.
Surely, a person’s left to think that one’s imperfections, flaws, and circumstances would eliminate one from God’s blessings.
But that’s not what His word says.
You see, II Corinthians 5:17 states “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,
old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”
That, admittedly, is some good news
Because I don’t have to let my past dictate my future self.
My mistakes don’t bring about the end of the world.
My flaws are not so wrong that God doesn’t love me or want what’s best for me.
In fact, He’s given me a new beginning.
I can start over and obtain the blessings He has for me.
I can believe in better for me.
And you can too, but it starts with you…
You’ve got to do your part, too.
It’s not enough to just set the goal.
You’ve got to go for the gold in this race.
Exert yourself and make an effort to attain it.
Don’t let this opportunity pass without taking advantage of it.
With your new resolutions, will you actually go after them
Or let something, someone, some circumstance stop you from accomplishing them?
Think for a moment about your goals. What do you plan to do to achieve them?