New years somehow brings up the same old questions about fresh resolve for new behaviors, habits, or outlooks. Everything around us seems to suggest a new wardrobe, diet, workout plan, GPA, or relationship goal to freshen up where we fell short in 2016. Believers often make spiritual goals for the new year – a consistent time in the Word, steadfastness in prayer, or a more generous lifestyle.
However we need to consider the possibility that, underneath all of our resolutions, what we really desire is a “new you.”
A diet could sound nice on the surface. But mainly because it offers the hope of being a healthier, more fit version of ourselves – the hope of being the kind of person who eats healthy and values his or her body. We aren’t drawn to start a diet because we have suddenly stopped loving sugar – we are drawn to change because we want to be renewed, to be different.
But do resolutions, however good, really hold the key to “newness?” What happens when the end of January comes around and we have fallen short again, when our rosy ideals for 2017 seem impossible amidst the difficulties of life? Is our hope for renewal found somewhere deep within ourselves, within our personalities or motivation to be better?
Look what God has said about putting on the new self, a self created only by God in Jesus:
…and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
Our new self has been created in God’s own image. Notice the present tense of the verbs in these verses – as a new creation in Jesus (accomplished in the past), we are being renewed (being accomplished continually – in the present).
This means that God is at work in you right now – and for all the days to come. We do not have to wait for the next “mountaintop experience” or lose heart when God seems distant. He has not left us, for His Spirit is at work in us now. In Jesus, we have past hope (the cross and resurrection of Jesus), present hope (we are BEING renewed) and future hope (an eternal weight of glory).
Spend some time working through this new TDR Being Renewed in prayer. Instead of simply daring to follow through on a New Years resolution, will you dare to ask God what He is doing for you? Are you losing heart? Do the weights of the world, of your circumstances, or of your sin seem to constantly weigh you down?
Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
So we do not lose heart (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Hoping in Him,
The Transform Team