“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:22-24
Since the time I became aware of the passing of time, I have made New Year’s resolutions. The early ones were pretty simple and self-serving: I would be brave enough to ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland. I would be the fastest freestyler on the swim club team.
As I grew older, the resolutions may have changed but they were still self-centered, focused as they were on the supposed improvement of me, myself and I. How many years did I swear off sweets in the New Year as I scarfed down the last of the holiday cookies? Or promised myself that I would walk three miles a day, rain or shine?
Most recently, these new year resolutions have temporarily provided a puffed-up sense of Christian purpose.
There was the year I was going to write in my faith journal, uh, faithfully, and the year I was going to read the Bible cover to cover. Go ahead, ask me anything you want to know about Genesis or the first couple of chapters of Exodus!
What all these resolutions have in common is the yearning for a fresh start, the longing to wipe away a messy past. They play into that notion that we are in control. But wait: as Christian sisters we are assured that each and every day dawns fresh and clean, never mind about a new year.
Scripture confirms this, over and over, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Isaiah 43 tells us to “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” What a relief to let go of those times when I flubbed my job as a mother, well-intentioned or not, or those hurtful words I tossed at my husband during an argument I can’t even remember.
And, Paul says in Galations that “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” Is it possible, then, that I am no longer that insecure woman who envied a friend’s wardrobe, or another’s jaw-dropping career success?
John, too, reiterates the same blessed message in 2 Corinthians 5: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” It sounds too good to be true, but I think this means I’m also forgiven when I’ve ignored another’s need, or thought I was too busy to pray.
I can almost see a heavenly eraser wiping clean the scribbled blackboard of my less than perfect days, and I smile with relief. Our God promises us a fresh start each and every day we call upon Him, be it January 1, April 5 or whenever.
So, this year, I’m resolving to forgo my standard list of new year resolutions to simply concentrate, day by day, on living in a way worthy of the immeasurable love and forgiveness that the Savior so freely bestows on me.