New Year. New You?
“And there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from...My giant goes with me wherever I go.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ah, the fresh, crisp beauty of a new year. A new calendar, fresh chances, a new opportunity to do things right. Let the resolutions begin.
We will be on time to school in 2020. We will get homework done right away. The binder of school papers will stay organized. No more late transportation changes, because we will plan ahead. We will thoroughly read the Windsor Weekly!
Or will we? We all, like Ralph Waldo Emerson in the quote above, have to face the realization that no new place—and no new year—can really make any one of us a new self. But Emerson didn’t know the Lord, and thankfully there is more to the story.
As a busy new year starts, a few minutes considering Scripture’s take on new year resolutions will be a few minutes well spent.
From Scripture we know...
There is real joy in a fresh start. Our God is in the business of “making all things new” (Isaiah 43:18–19; Revelation 21:4–5).
It is good to resolve to work hard at doing things well, to God’s glory.
"Whatever you do, work heartily, as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1–2).
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).
BUT on our own, we cannot accomplish anything; we need the Lord's strength.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
“The Lord is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 41:10).
We can make plans for a new year, but only God ordains what will actually happen—and that is great news.
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
“Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but it is the Lord’s purpose that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).
“‘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 a hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
This side of heaven, our best resolutions are guaranteed to fail, but God is strong when we are weak.
“But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 9:9).
“For we do not have a high priest [that is, Jesus,] who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing....Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me….What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:18–25).
Soul-deep newness is only found in Christ, and it’s not limited to January!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In Christ, we learn “to put off [our] old self, which belongs to [our] former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of [our] minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22–24).
Whether our resolutions succeed or fail, God knows we need each other—students, parents, and teachers alike!
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24–25).
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is still called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10).
Happy new year, Windsor! And, in Christ, happy new you.