A new year always brings the opportunity for a fresh new start. There is something about the word “new” that brings a smile to the face. It could be a new toy as a child or a new car as an adult. It could be a new job, a new house, a new baby. Spiritually, God has given us so many new things: the new birth, new life, a new covenant, a new commandment, the promise of a new body and a new home called heaven. There is going to be a new heaven, a new earth, a new Jerusalem, we are going to get a new name, and He gives us a new song. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” He is making all things new! This week is the first week of a new year. It is God’s gift to us. If you want “Happy New Year” to be more than words that you say, here are three things to help:
Love More – A New Passion
A few verses before Paul says that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, he says, “For the love of Christ compels us…” Everyone talks about making new year’s resolutions. Statistically speaking however, most people will fail before Valentine’s Day. If it is only about losing weight, or only about exercising, you will not be motivated to last. The motivation that lasts is the love of God. Start every day loving God. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Trying harder and exercising more are good, but they are not the starting place. God is the starting place. God made us body, soul, and spirit. Your entire life is connected. Have a holistic approach. Our lives get in a mess when we let our bodies call the shots. Develop your spiritual life. Start every day with God through prayer and Bible reading. How are you going to get up every day and read your Bible and pray? The love of Christ compels us! No other motivation will last.
Live More – A New Perspective
Paul continues, “And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised. From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way” (v. 15-16). Living more and having a happy new year means to stop living for yourself and to live for God and others. Jesus changes your outlook on life. He gives you a new perspective. You will see Him and others differently. We do not view the Bible through the lens of culture, but we view the culture through the lens of Scripture. After he met Jesus on the Damascus Road, Paul had a new perspective on everything. Christ did not change, Saul did! So many people think the problem is everybody else. They are always running, moving jobs, schools, neighborhoods, or churches. Wherever you go though, you take you with you! Ask God for His perspective and then do something – eat healthier, exercise more, set goals, etc.
Learn More – A New Potential
Second Corinthians 5:17 is one of the great verses of the Bible. If you are a Christian, this is your testimony. This is your biography. “Anyone” means it does not matter who you are, where you came from, or what you have done. It is easy to think people cannot change. I’m here to tell you that it does not matter how long that bad habit has had you bound. Bad habits can be broken in Jesus’ Name! You cannot change yourself. The text is key. The potential for change is “in Christ.” No one talks about being “in” Confucius, “in” Buddha, or “in” Mohammed, but the Christian is in Christ Jesus. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. Just like the bird is in the air and the air is in the bird. The fish is in the water and the water is in the fish. I’m not talking about being “in” church, being religious, being a nice person, or saying you believe there is a god. The Bible says even the demons believe and tremble. They believe the Bible, that Jesus is the Son of God, but they are not “in Christ.” The Bible is NOT a collection of stores, but it is a single story of God creating, man rebelling, and God sending His Son to reconcile/bring us back to God. The God who made a world out of nothing can make those who are dead in trespasses and sin into a new creation. The God who brought order out of chaos can give anyone a new beginning.
In the new year, learn to keep the main thing the main thing. The main thing is to make sure your life is in His hands. Are you in Christ? If so, then allow Him to give you a new passion, a new perspective, and a new potential. Then, you will have a happy new year.