It's almost 2024, and many of us have already started our list of New Year resolutions and making inner vows to change something about our lives that we are dissatisfied with. For some it's their appearance, for some health, for some of us it's our affiliations or relationships, finances, and for some, it may be our commitment to our spirituality.
There's something about "newness"; a new beginning, a fresh start, a do-over - that brings hope. Hope that there's "more" to attain to. There's something about the thought of leaving the past behind, forsaking old habits, and embracing a new way of life and a new way of thinking that ignites a flame within us, and motivates us to venture out into the unknown in hopes of something "new".
While the aforementioned pursuits may be both noble and necessary, make no mistake about it, they can't truly bring about a new you. A new hairstyle, weight loss, new relationships, and taking charge of your health and finances may improve your quality of life, but as long as your spirit has not been regenerated and your soul isn't being renewed daily, the old you or the same you, will continue to dominate the present and future you. A new year nor new goals make one a new person.
However, the Apostle Paul has good news for us. He argues that if any man or woman be in Christ, he/she is a new "creation", old things have passed, behold all things have become "new" (2 Cor. 5:17). The old you that was dead and hellbound has died and been resurrected into "new life" because you received God's Spirit, and it is His Spirit that gives life. You have been born "again"..born from above, and given a brand "new identity". Whatever you used to identify with and whatever you did in your past has no claim to you anymore.
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May we go into 2024 walking in our new identity, and living like a new creation; exiled and created for the New Jerusalem. Let us go into 2024 focusing on what God's absolute Truth says about us, unlike the world that teaches that truth is relative.
Let us resolve to allow the Holy Spirit to drive our passions and our deeds. Let us pursue with haste, the things of God that feed and fuel our spirit man and starve the evil desires and works of the flesh. (See Gal. 5:13-26)
Transformation happens when we take God's word seriously and we allow Him to work in us from the inside out. Looking to be a new you? Abide, remain, and stay put in God and His Word. Don't be conformed to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the "renewing" of your mind (Rom 12:2). Surround yourself with others who are living for God and will hold you accountable to living as the new you in Christ. Say, "No", to the destructive and purposeless things that the old you indulged in, and when you fail or have a set-back, know that you do not have to wait on a new year to start over. Paul said, "I die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31).
Remember, for the Christian disciple (If we're doing it right), inwardly we're being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). We're allowing the Word to take our thoughts captive, raise arguments, challenge our worldview, our feelings, our desires, and
our actions (2 Cor. 10:5).
Change happens from the inside out. I encourage and admonish my brethren in 2024, to strive daily to live as the new creation under our new identity as spirit-filled and spirit-empowered children of the King, who now walk in step with the Spirit and not the flesh. Happy New Year, "new you"!