New Beginnings (and How to Keep Them Going)

Happy 2020, readers! I hope 2019 was a blessed year, and you enter the new one refreshed and renewed.

I have long been obsessed with New Year’s resolutions. I remember making lists of them as young as 8 years old. Those lists were monstrous and full of lofty goals. Last year, for example, I resolved to limit my time watching Netflix to an hour a day — no exceptions. As you can imagine, that didn’t happen. (This year’s list is much shorter and more manageable).

Many of you have similar stories: you enter the new year bright-eyed and with lofty goals only to have broken most of your resolutions by February 1. Wash, rinse, repeat. What is our obsession with new beginnings? And more importantly, once we’ve made a change, how do we sustain it?

Our First New Beginning

As a culture, we’re all about new: the newest iPhone, the latest trends, and the most up-to-date tech. There are obvious downsides to that. But there’s something about a fresh start that makes us breathe a sigh of relief; we get to put our past mistakes behind us and begin again. Turns out, God feels the same way about new beginnings. That’s why he gave us our first fresh start:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you’ve given your life to Christ, you’re not just a slightly different version of the same old you. The Bible says you are a new creation.  The old you — all her failures — has passed. He was buried with Christ in the tomb and resurrected on Easter morning. So as Christians, we have every reason to love the idea of starting over. God gave us the ultimate new beginning, and it never has to end. 

New Mercies Every Day

Perhaps the reason our resolve to do better loses steam is because no matter how we try, we still mess up. The new creation, unfortunately, is still human. God is not blind to that reality. He knows that we will fail Him from time to time. He foresaw our mistakes. That’s why, thankfully, becoming a new creation was never meant to be our last shot at a new beginning. The Word says that in Christ, every day is a new beginning:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

We grieve our sins and shortcomings, as well we should. But they don’t have to be fatal. He is faithful to forgive and grant do-overs to the truly repentant, no matter how many times we stumble.

So what’s the secret to your new beginning, then? In short, it’s Christ. In him, you were given the ultimate fresh start, with a new one every day after that. In him, you have the power to say no to temptation. But even when you don’t, his never-ending mercies are new the next morning. Breathe in that truth this year, and let his mercy be the power behind your resolutions.

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