A New Start
A New Start
Happy New Year! We love the arrival of the New Year – don’t we? It signifies a fresh beginning, a new start. We can put the failures, difficulties and struggles of the previous twelve months behind us and begin anew. We brush our hands off, get excited and begin to think, “This year is going to be different…better.” So…as the New Year began, how many New Year’s resolutions did you set? What are you hoping for and dreaming of in this brand new year? Here we are at day 15 of this New Year - how are you doing on a new start?
According to the University of Scranton’s - Journal of Clinical Psychology – here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions that we set:
- Lose Weight
- Get Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Learn Something Exciting
- Quit Smoking
- Help Other in their Dreams
- Fall in Love
- Spend More Time with Family
Most of us probably thought, “ME TOO!” on at least 6 of those. But the stats go on to show that only 45% of Americans bother to make New Year’s resolutions and only 8% achieve them. Well, that is kind of depressing. But take a minute and think about it. The list you see above is full of end results. The opposites of those – the things we are hoping to move away from - are symptoms that have been brought about by poor choices, buried issues and deep struggles. We cannot make substantial changes in our lives without first getting down to the root of the problem. So, no more setting New Year Resolutions for me - I am done with that. Instead of focusing on the end results we desire – it is time to focus on whose we are and who we are becoming.
God has big plans for each of us. We have been created with a purpose. God wants us to be on His team. He wants us to be His friend. He desires for us to play our role in fulfilling His ultimate plan. He desires for us to have a heart that is passionately in love with Him. And to be totally honest, His desires for us go way beyond dieting, exercising, organizing and making our small insignificant hopes and desires come true. Of course being healthy and organized and fulfilled are all good and positive things. And when we have the right perspective and put God first in our lives – many of the things on the list above will begin to fall into place. But our focus needs to be on our inside and not only on the outside and how things appear to be.
God is so good. He loves us way beyond anything we can even begin to comprehend. He has so much He wants to offer us. We are so crazy. Instead of jumping in and living our live for Him – we stand back reserved and cling to things that really have no lasting value. We fear we are going to have to give up something we enjoy or lose someone who pretends to be a friend. But what we do not realize is that when we walk closely in our relationship with the Lord – we gain so much more than we can even begin to imagine.
So, I have a great idea…let’s decide today that we are going to give up our way and just do life His way. I mean after all – God created us. He spoke this earth into existence. Why would we think our way is better than His? It is only because of His grace that we can even inhale the air we are breathing right this second. So, what would be the perfect resolution? What should we resolve to do? Once we determine what it is, we can set that as our lifelong resolution and then each year, each month, each day – ask ourselves, “How am I doing with my resolution? Am I further along in it today than I was yesterday, last month, and last year?”
Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” The word “comes” is used to refer to the privilege of drawing near to God. Yes, it is a privilege - a gift He gives – to allow us to draw near to Him. But as the scripture goes on to say…we must diligently seek Him. Matthew 6:33 says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” All these things = all that we need. You may be thinking that you already know this. You have heard this. But…let me ask you a question…are you living this? Are you? It is hard. Yes, it is. There are so many distractions - so many things that demand our attention. And if we are not careful, we will go through day after day after day - not putting God first and sometimes not even thinking about Him at all. A.W. Tozer has a quote that I have fallen in love with. It is so true. It is a great place for a new start. It is the reason why we must make sure we are diligently seeking after Him.
“As God is exalted to the right place in our lives, a thousand problems are solved all at once.”
A second thing to consider is who is the pilot and who is the co-pilot of our life. Are we sitting in the pilot seat and asking God to co-pilot and help us on this journey? Or have we relinquished the control to our Savior and begun allowing Him to lead us and guide us through our every day? I have learned that in the midst of a struggle – it is easier to relinquish control and seek God’s guidance. But when things are not falling apart – we kick God aside and maybe without even realizing it – we grab ahold of the steering wheel. Our main focus becomes, “I want. I think. I feel. I desire.” But if we are letting God have control - the proper focus should be, “God what do you want from me? God what do you want to do in me? God what do you want me to do? God, where do you want me to serve? Help me to love with your love and offer grace to others the way you offered it to me.”
I realized recently that many of us – including me – pray and seek God – yet still have the mindset, “Lord, please be with me as I go throughout my day. Lord, please help me have the marriage I desire. Lord, please help me to look the way I want to look. Lord, please help me to get a raise, a promotion, a new job. Lord, please go with me.” But don’t we have that backwards? We should instead say, “Lord, I want to go with You! Help me put you first in my life – to exalt you to the place you should be. Lord, lead me. Lord, help me be the spouse You desire me to be. Lord, help me have discipline and self-control. Lord, I trust You to meet my needs. ” If we do, He promises us peace, comfort, to be a present help. He promises to give us the desires of our heart. He promises to never leave us not forsake us. He promises we will be conquerors. He promises we will bear fruit for Him. He promises to use everything we go through for good in our lives. His promises go on and on and on and on. They are ours to be had. They are personal to each of us. Will we claim them?
All we need to do is resolve to have a new start. Beginning today we can set a lifelong resolution to exalt Him to His proper place in our life. He should be first; top of our priorities; first on the list; most important; numero uno. He is the answer to all the things we hope to change and to all the things we want to start anew. He is a new start. And if we fail? Well every day, every moment is a great time for a new start.
Share with us some things we can do to stay focused on exalting God to His proper place in our life…
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