It’s that time of year again. A new beginning. A fresh start. And resolutions to make positive changes in our lives. Sure, we can create for ourselves “new beginnings” throughout the year (and many of us do), but there’s something special about turning the calendar page to January 1st. We ring in the new year and say things like, “From this day forward, I will…”
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We all enjoy having a clean slate, but sometimes a clean slate is difficult to come by. Obstacles threaten to steal our new beginning. We have others reminding us of our past; and if not others, the enemy certainly likes to bring up the past and use it against us. And did I mention that resolutions are hard? Just ask anyone on February 1st. Statistically speaking, only 8% of new year’s resolutions succeed thus proving that making a resolution to change is much easier than maintaining that resolution and achieving real change.
Our God is in the business of giving us a new beginning… one that will endure not by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. This is what the Lord says — who makes a way in the sea, and a path through surging waters, who brings out the chariot and horse, the army and the mighty one together (they lie down, they do not rise again; they are extinguished, quenched like a wick) —“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:15-19 (HCSB, emphasis added)
- Pay no attention to things of old…
God commanded His people to “pay no attention” to the past. He wanted them to focus on what He was about to do instead. The enemy likes to trip us up by making us feel like He can’t possibly use us – that we are somehow too far gone. We’ve made too many mistakes and experienced too many hardships. But God is not only capable of doing a “new thing,” He longs to bring newness to our lives.
- Remember where God has led you so far…
At the beginning of this Scripture, God reminded them of where He had taken them before. He gave them examples from their past that demonstrated who He was and what He was capable of accomplishing. Focusing on the past can cripple us or empower us depending on how we choose to perceive things. God wanted them to remember the pieces of their past that would enable them to trust Him for their future.
- Trust the Lord with all your heart…
Don’t allow the enemy to cause you to doubt God and His provision. He is able. Romans 8:11 tells us that the same Spirit who had the power to raise Jesus from the dead now lives in us as believers. If this is true (and I believe with all my heart that it is), then there is absolutely nothing in this life that can’t be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no reason or excuse to doubt God and His ability to restore our lives in Him.
- Anticipate and expect dry ground…
Most of us are familiar with the parting of the Red Sea, but that wasn’t the only time the waters parted for God’s people.
Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing…. – Joshua 3:15-16 (NIV)
Notice how the waters didn’t part until their feet actually touched the water’s edge. Their faith was tested as they had to take that first step in expectation. This is often true in our lives today. God wants us to expect… to anticipate. We are often called to take a step of faith even before the waters part for us. We step knowing that our foot will land on dry ground because God said it would.
Let’s move forward and experience a new beginning that will last… one that only God can provide.
As we ring in a new year, let’s make a resolution that will last. We leave behind the parts of our past that cripple us and choose instead to remember all that God has accomplished.
And we step out in faith knowing that God will sustain us – that throughout this next year, God will continue to move and work in our lives in a way that only He can.