It is New Year’s Resolution time. As the new year approaches, we have the tradition of resolving to put our bad habits, repellant deeds and vile behaviors in the past and do something new, better and more commendable. We seek to have a new beginning.
In the past when I tried to put my resolutions into practice, I found that it was not easy. Those declarations I had proclaimed with great determination soon started slipping towards the sidelines and eventually they faded away unfulfilled. I fell back into my old routines until I passionately proclaimed another set of eventually-unachieved resolutions as the next New Year drew near. Perhaps others are like me.
I had the wrong focus. I was directing my attention to a haphazard calendar date. I learned that when we try to do things our way through our own efforts we are bound to fail. The only way we can truly have a new beginning is through Jesus Christ. He provides us with the only regeneration that really matters.
Jesus has given us a new covenant through his death on the cross in atonement for our sins and resurrection on the third day. Through Jesus we enter a new creation as is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”.
By accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior with our mouths and with our heart, we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are reborn. That is a new beginning indeed! In John 3: 5-6 (NIV): Jesus says “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit”.
Romans 8: 1-2 describes the immense importance of this rebirth: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death”. We leave the realm of the flesh and enter into the realm of the Spirit. We are set free from being slaves to sin. What a glorious new beginning that is.
Fortunately, we do not have to wait until the New Year to make the resolution to accept Jesus. He is waiting for us patiently and lovingly for us to do that at any moment. Once we accept him the reward is eternal.
Being humans, our minds wander and lose their focus on God. Personally, I tend to get distracted. It is easy to become enticed by the temptations that surround me. My human resolve is weak. So, it is useful for me to try to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, to build my trust in him and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit not only each New Year but starting each new day. Each morning, in a sense, is a new beginning. When I do this faithfully, and let the Spirit take charge, it is my need to make New Year’s resolutions that tends to fade away.
The Union Church of Guatemala
Leaders & Church Staff
Dr. Ralph Porter
Women's Ministry President