For most of us, stepping into a new year is the perfect opportunity to step in to “a new you.” What does the new you look like?
- 37% of us resolve to eat healthier.
- 37% of us resolve to exercise.
- 37% of us resolve to save money.
- 24% of us resolve to sleep more and take better care of ourselves.
- 18% of us resolve to improve our minds and read more. (You can start by subscribing to this blog.) [Source]
What makes these noble goals hard are the remnants of 2018 still hanging around.
- It’s hard to eat healthy as long as 2018’s Christmas cookies and two-liter soft drinks are lurking in the pantry.
- It’s hard to save money when the bills of last year are waiting payment.
- It’s hard to improve our minds when the DVR is calling with its backlog of unwatched programs.
Don’t let the past deter you from the present.
And don’t let your past failures and sins deter you from moving forward in Christ. When we come to Jesus Christ in faith, we gain a new life. The old life is gone. We have victory!
- “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:25).
- “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17).
But we often have to deal with the consequences of the old life. Granted, there are no consequences in our relationship with God. We are forgiven by God, but we still may need to face the consequences of our sins. God forgives the murderer, but he still has to go to prison. In the same way, we must still deal with the pain of broken friendships, undisciplined spending, or unchecked behavior.
I’m reminded of a letter written by Major John N. Douglas. In 1918, it was a huge victory when World War I ended. November 11, 1918 marked the end of all fighting and conflict. No more war. Victory had been secured, but the consequences of the war still had to be addressed. Major Douglas was still in France six weeks later, and he was miserable. On December 24, Douglas wrote home to his wife about the dire conditions and scarcity of supplies.
I arrived in Maron about noon on the 19th — and we waited there until the 21st before the train came. It rained continuously — the mud was 2 to 6 deep — there was no place to sleep — no fires — no water to drink — and very little warm food in France at this season it gets dark very early — about 4:00 — and as there is practically no kerosene — and candles being very high — everybody goes to bed at dusk — in fact by 6:30 everybody in the small town is asleep — we turned in at 6:00 — It was miserable — wet — cold — no lights — no fires. [Source]
For the Christians, it can be like that too. We have victory, yet we may have issues to overcome. But we don’t face them alone. The One who forgives us walks with us. The One who gives us a new life empowers us to live that new life, Deal appropriately with whatever consequences of sin, poor choices, and poor habits are before you, but don’t do it alone. Lean on Christ. Walk with Him. Rejoice in Him.
May God bless this next year for you.