Some of you might recognize this particular phrase, but if you can’t place where the familiarity comes from think back to previous New Year’s and you might remember a tune sung right after the clock strikes midnight. The title of this song translates to “times gone by.” As we welcome another year I am reminded of fresh starts and new beginnings which brings me to the passage in Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth:
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
As someone who identifies themself as a Christ-follower I tend to pass over this verse assuming that it doesn’t pertain to me anymore, but as I took some time to look back and reflect on this past year I was able to read this verse with a new light. We all fall short daily, Christians and Non-Christians, of the Glory of God. In the words of Christ, becoming new means: “you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.” When we accept Christ, sin and temptation don’t just leave our daily lives, but becoming new means knowing how to ask forgiveness and work on overcoming the weakness in our lives.
What a better way to begin the new year than taking time to pray over the areas in our lives that hold us captive from being able to experience complete newness in Christ? New year’s resolutions may seem cheesy or ineffective, but what about revamping the way we see them and use them to challenge us in ways that will bring us closer to and more intimate with our Creator?
One of my favorite verses in the bible comes from the gospel of John. It says, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) What a simple and yet powerful prayer to use as we pray over this idea of “picking up our cross.” If we pray for God to become more and for our selfish ambitions to become less how much different would our lives look? Temptation will not go away completely, but learning how to overcome it will definitely become easier if we are constantly working at God being the greater in our lives. Our focus will be more in line with His Will. We will have a better grasp on where He is leading us and what it means to live a life that glorifies Him. Giving over all the parts of our lives will allow us to experience what it means to be “Made New” in Christ.
I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this past year, both the good and the bad. Praise God for the Auld Lang Syne or the “times gone by”, but ask Him how He wants you to move forward into this new year. Set goals, or even New Year’s Resolutions, to overcome areas in your life that are holding you back from experiencing the new life we have been granted as Christ followers. If you are even unsure as to whether or not you have passed from the old and into the new, or death into life, start there. Christ died so that all could experience eternal life and unconditional love, so it’s yours to have. All you have to do is ask for it.