December 28, 2020
Our calendars tell us it is about that time; a new year, and a new you! Right? Yes, it is the time in which we all start making some changes. The morning talk shows and social media platforms will be overflowing with ideas to help you lose weight, be more organized and balanced, and better yourself. Get that gym membership and go longer than the first couple of weeks in January!
And, of course, everyone is also hoping that 2021 looks better than 2020. Serenity Now! No guarantees exist, but we are trusting in Jesus and are hopeful. I get it.
A typical New Year's annual goals always seem to be this: try and be a better person. Lose weight. Be a better spouse, parent, church member, and Christian. And I am not discounting those resolutions. They can be beneficial and can help you start the year off with a new perspective and drive.
In addition to all of the outward goals, we also resolve to do some spiritual things. Inner goals, if you will. We hear sermons and articles on being more spiritual that convict us. We strive to be a better Christian through all of the standard disciplines of grace: read our Bible more, witness more, go to church more, pray more, love more.
I also would not dismiss you doing any of these things. Many times what we need is a “fresh start.” They are beneficial, and God’s Word is clear that these things should be a part of our lives as Christians. BUT – these things will not “make” you more spiritual. They will not “change” the inside. It is what has happened on the inside that should lead to those things.
One of my favorite songs on Steven Curtis Chapman’s 2012 Christmas album Joy (sorry, not 90s—it’s SCC, he gets a pass) is the last track, Happy New Year. As always, Steven is a masterful poet:
The decorations have been moved back to the attic
Our resolutions and our diets all in place
As another chapter ends and another one begins
Slowly now we turn the page
Out into the midnight sky, I stare in wonder
At the grand design of how our planet dances with the sun
And I’m thinkin’ this could be
God’s way of whispering
A story’s being told and the best is yet to come
Can you imagine? The best is yet to come! And indeed, that is what God’s Word tells us. In the grand design of our Father, He is whispering to us the truth that He is still working. He has been working all along. On us. In our world. Building His people, and establishing His Kingdom. His presence in our lives brings Heaven in the Real World!
If you are a Christian and have been saved by grace through faith in Christ, here is my advice for a New Year’s resolution. Remember Who You Are! At salvation, God made us new creations by His grace. The Apostle Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, and behold; all things become new.” You do not have to resolve to make yourself new. You have to remember and rely on the fact that Jesus Christ did it!
You are new! Forgiven! You are alive in Christ! So go, and be who you are. And be blessed in the glorious fact that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) And He who set the world in motion is in the process of recreating!
To be sure, a list of spiritual resolutions are great. However, we should never think they will make us more new than we already are. Furthermore, those things will not make Jesus love us more than he already does. Those are simply the fruit of us knowing who we are. We are made new in Jesus.
As we approach 2021, I am thankful that Jesus is in the business of recreating things. He made us new at salvation. If you have not accepted him, I pray that you acknowledge your sin and believe he died for you and rose again. I pray that you, by faith, trust Him and allow Him to make you new. And through all of the struggles in our lives and in a year like 2020, I am thankful that Jesus is ultimately still in control and is still in the business of recreating things. “And he who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5)
So happy New Year, happy New Year
Another chance to catch a glimpse of what is coming true
Happy New Year, happy New Year
The God who made everything
Is remaking everything
The God who made everything
He says I’m making all things new
So happy New Year