Time for a New Beginning
Here we are, a new year and a new beginning. One of the things I appreciate most about January is the hope I have for change and for doing things differently. No doubt 2024 will unfold in a variety of ways, but one thing I know for sure is there’s no need to look further than God’s Word for a new year reset.
As one year ends and another begins, it is pretty normal to reflect on the sequence of events that have taken place and evaluate our progress.
- What did we accomplish?
- Did we reach our goals?
- What went well, what didn’t?
- Can things be bigger and better in the new year? Or do we want things simpler?
- What is next on the list?
From the human perspective these seem like valid questions, but what do we really want? What are we thirsty for? And where are we looking for guidance and wisdom?
What Does Your New Year’s List Look Like?
Setting goals is part of the secular, traditional to-do list, but what compels us to set those goals or resolutions? Why do we really need to write a list of things that often seem to go by the wayside weeks into a new year?
Most of the time it is about wanting to try again, to look for opportunities that give us a reset, a win, a success, and a fresh start. Just the thought of starting over sounds good.
Surface resolutions are often fueled by a personal agenda to prove our worth and feel important. Daily we are inundated with an endless social media feed that stirs discontent, distrust, and longing. Truth be told, we can get caught up in this type of thinking because we are flawed. And, while many of our friends believe the generic resolution list is the right thing to do, is it really? Would God approve and are we seeking His help as we write down what is important to us?
Read God’s Word Before Making Plans
Wherever you find yourself, one thing is crystal clear. It is more important to read the truth of God’s Word and ask Him to show us what He wants for us in the new year before we make any plans on our own. Rest assured, He is there to guide, lead us in the right direction, and help us to overcome any number of things. All we have to do is to seek His face and pay attention to Him.
God’s Word gives us the ultimate response to any new year’s resolution in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As we move forward there are three areas we can focus on that will help us draw closer to God and experience a true new year reset.
Pay Attention to God’s Plans
Sometimes we enjoy a mountaintop experience while other times we make the trek through a significant wilderness event. Either way, there are lessons to be learned and experiences to enjoy along the way, while growing in strength and perseverance. We can get sidetracked by our own desires, frustrations, and fear. Couple that with challenges, difficulties, and poor decision making, and the desert is where we land. We are not to remain there, but to seek God, be obedient, and pray for Him to show us the way to a better life. I am often reminded of the phrase, “am I living in a dry, parched land or have I crossed over into the promised land? God’s Word gives us a hope and a future.
Pay Attention to God’s Voice
Joshua met with God so he would know what God wanted for His people. The Lord commanded Joshua to lead a nation and says in Joshua 1:1-5 NIV,
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Listen to God and listen for Him to speak to you just as He spoke to Joshua. Man should not live by bread alone, but by His Word. Psalm 119:104-105 tells us, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
The way to get better at the listening part is through prayer. God longs for a special two-way relationship that requires us to talk to Him and listen to Him. The listening is more important than the speaking.
Pay Attention to God’s Promises
God provides for us and He promised that we will live and work from His power. The Bible is very clear that we can count on every single one of God’s promises. While Moses lead the Israelites for 40 years, it was Joshua that lead a new generation into the promised land. God prepared and taught both Joshua and His chosen people to have courage and a consistent faith. He also reminded Joshua that He would never leave him or forsake him.
Just as He did for Moses and Joshua, God will supply His power and provision to each of us.
God Gives Us the Opportunity for a Spiritual Reset
We are not alone as we face this brand new year. God doesn’t remember our past; instead He gives us the chance for a reset every single day. In doing so, He gives us the opportunity to set goals that truly matter. Try your hand at spiritual goals that draw you closer to God and quench your thirst for what truly matters. Ask Him for guidance as you prepare your list. Pray that He will reveal His purpose for you.
Keep your list simple and avoid getting caught up in the clutter of a busy life. Your list should not be about wanting more but rather what He desires for you. Think about what matters most to you. Refrain from getting caught up in the worldly things that don’t matter…..not even one tiny bit. Nothing is more important than your Heavenly Father and your family; NOTHING.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 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.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
So as you focus on God’s Word for your new year reset, throw out the old habits and begin again with a heart and mind focused on Him.
May God Bless you in 2024!