New start, same baggage
I’m writing this as we enter 2008. It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of new starts but we always carry around the same old baggage. As Christians we have a new nature but the old nature (Paul calls it ‘the flesh’) hangs on. We shall only cope as believers if we ‘by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the flesh’ (Romans 8:13).
Because life is not consistent. Some years are good, some are bad and most are a mixed bag. You will never live the same year twice. That is partly what makes it so exciting and also what makes it so hard at times.
One consistent thing
We’ll never have a perfectly good year and we’ll never have a year that’s so awful that not a single good thing happens. Think over 2007 – the highs, the lows, the funny bits, the sad bits. But there is one consistent factor in all this!
In all life’s unpredictability, know this. Whether your year was good, bad or a bit of both – if you are a Christian, then God was still faithful.
Someone shared with me something that has really stuck – ‘God is still God’. Repeat that to yourself when you’re out and about, surrounded by sin. God is still God! He remains true to his word and he will never – has never, can never – let you down. God was God in 2006, 2007 and he’s still here in 2008.
If God is still God no matter what, then what does that mean to anyone out there who isn’t a Christian? Well it shows you that there is no contest between God, Allah, Buddha and the atheists. The God of Scripture is still God whether people believe in him or not.
There can be only one God – the God who reveals himself in Jesus Christ. And there is only one Saviour – the one who bore our sins in his own body on the cross.
One fresh start
You may want to make a fresh start this year, trying to be right and good. But you’ll never manage it. Just think back. Have you ever kept a new year resolution? Hopeless, isn’t it?
Well, actually … no!
Let me share with you something from the Bible. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You can turn to God and say something like this: ‘Lord, I know I haven’t the strength to live to please you. So I surrender myself to you. Take my life and let it be yours. Save me from my sin through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection’.
That’s it. God is still God and will still save absolutely anybody who comes in repentance and asks in faith. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to lose yourself and find God as your Saviour in 2008 – long after all your new year resolutions have failed?