Welcome to the new year and the new decade!* People do like to turn that one calendar page or crack open a new day-timer, as if they’re crossing a threshold into a new universe. In some ways, they are, and use the occasion to make New Year’s resolutions which, they later joke, don’t last past the middle of January.
But if New Year’s resolutions are an indication that you want to change something in your life, you don’t need any particular day in order to do that — and make it stick. And I think you know what I’m talking about.
It’s called turning to the Lord, through Jesus Christ.
Good and upright is the Lord,
Therefore He teaches sinners in the way,
The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way.
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenants and His testimonies.
For Your name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.— Psalm 25:8-11
“Newness” was a word I first heard when I answered an altar call in 1999: an assurance from one of the pastors at the event: that state of being something and someone totally different than before. Not the person who did whatever it had been that was separating you from God.
It’s simple, but it’s not easy, and God knows it. David writes that God teaches sinners about His way. We’re not able, in our own strength and wisdom, to make the changes in our lives (which is why so many New Year’s resolutions crash and burn): only God has that strength and wisdom, and leads us and guides us. All we need to do is ask Him.
But notice that David uses the word “humble” twice in that passage. Finding that newness begins with admitting there’s something wrong with you to begin with, and continues with Step 2, namely, opening your heart and mind to allow God to show you other things that “need work”. You’d be surprised what you learn about yourself. And if you start to hesitate about taking that bold step, ask yourself, “How well have things been working so far?”
Some friends of mine celebrate their birthday twice: once for the actual day they were whelped, and the other for their receiving Jesus. (I don’t know if I could pinpoint my own “again-birthday”, but there you go.) For the same reason, your Newness Year’s Day can come on any date in the calendar!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.2 Corinthians 5:17-19
*Yes, I know that, because there was no Year 0, the new decade doesn’t really start until 2021, and 2020 is actually the last year of the ‘teens, but there comes a time when you stop bucking the trend …. (Besides, Amelia was born in 1960 and if you’re looking for a fight, tell her she was actually born in the ’50s.)