Weekly Devotional 010124

New Year…New You

by Amy Ruiz

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” –Isaiah 43:18-19a

As we begin the New Year, I can’t help but focus on the word new. When I think of that word, I think about something fresh, clean, and untouched. One definition I found online described new as: “not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.”

How can we become “new” in the New Year…when we’ve already existed for many years with a life full of habits and patterns? How do we start anew when we have a list of failures, sins, and mistakes trailing on our heels? Can we start fresh? How can we be better Christians…better spouses…better parents or children…better bosses or employees? Is it possible to be more loving, more joyful, more at peace, more considerate, more disciplined, and more effective at making a difference?

Is it actually possible to experience a new you in the new year? YES! That is exactly what God wants for us this New Year. God is in the business of transformation and renewal. He has a plan and program to change our lives and make us more like Him in the ways we act and react.

There is a two-part plan laid out for us in Philippians 3:13b-14: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

1. Forget what lies behind.

We all have had bad things happen to us in the past. The difference between winners and losers is this: winners let go of the pain from the past. They move beyond it. Losers hold onto it. God says to let it go; to give those hurts to Him so you can progress further down the road.

Do you have major sins and failures in your history that keep you feeling like a second-class citizen in the Kingdom of God? Even if you are a rightly-convicted felon, your sins—no matter how heinous—are no match for the blood of Jesus Christ! Confess all those sins to God. Get them out from the shadows of your heart and under the cleansing power of the blood of His cross. And once you confess that sin to God and turn away from it, accept His complete and total forgiveness. Remember the truth of Scripture that says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

2. Reach forward to what lies ahead.

God does not want us to keep looking in the rear view mirror our whole lives. He wants us to press on in Jesus’ name. He wants us to put our eyes on Jesus and seek Him with all our hearts. He wants us to keep going, even when the way is hard.

Have you been tempted to throw in the towel? Have you gotten knocked down and have yet to get up? The time is now to dust off the difficulties of the past and get back in the race. Press on toward the goal, toward the prize of hearing Him say one day as you cross the finish line, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

So…Happy New Year! Here’s to the New You that God desires you to be! It is within reach.

Dear God, Help us to let go of the past and get up from where we have fallen. Give us the strength to go for the prize with all our hearts. Thank You for being a God of restoration and new beginnings! Amen.

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