Finding My Way Through New Beginnings Day 1: New Life in Christ
“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, ESV)
For most people, New Year’s Eve is an exciting holiday. A time to think about a brand-new year filled with possibilities. A time to make resolutions or goals of what you hope to accomplish in that year. A time to forget about any mistakes made in the previous year and to move on with new resolve. I think most of us would agree that the beginning of something new is certainly exciting, but perhaps also a little intimidating.
I put my trust in Christ at the age of 13, so I was still pretty young and didn’t necessarily make any huge, life-altering changes at that time. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church regularly. Growing up, I was always terrified of death. I knew that there were only two places for my soul to go after I died: heaven or hell. I also knew that I was a sinner, and if I died, I wouldn’t be in heaven because of my sin. One evening after church I was reading my Bible and read this wonderful verse: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). In that moment, I knew that Jesus came into the world to save me from my sins. I didn’t have to pay for them after I died, because Jesus had already paid for them. Even at that young age, I realized that I was beginning a new life and was filled with a desire to learn more about the God who saved me from my sins.
The first few weeks of January, people are 100 percent committed to their resolutions. If their goal is weight loss, they usually join a gym and are drinking kale smoothies every day. If their goal is organization, they start ripping apart all the closets in their home and making multiple trips to Goodwill. The start of something new involves excitement and determination and we feel ready to jump in headfirst. The beginning of your new life in Christ is no different. Realizing that you have been forgiven of all your sins and will be in heaven for all eternity is certainly a cause for excitement. Even at the age of 13, I remember having a desire to read my Bible more, pray more, and be a shining light of God’s grace to the people around me. But, just like most New Year’s resolutions, the excitement and determination you feel right after you put your trust in God can subside. Life gets busy, days go by, mistakes are made, discouragement moves in, and that zeal we felt in the beginning can seem so far away. Even though we are saved from our sins, we are not perfect. We make mistakes, we lose our focus, we stumble and fall, and we forget about the One who gave everything for us. The good news is that He never forgets about us. We can always go back and find that desire again, no matter how far we have gone. People who successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions have a method: perseverance, encouragement and support. The same applies to maintaining your spiritual goals. Want to keep that desire to live for God alive? Spend time in His Word. Find a devotional that encourages you. Spend time with other Christians who lift you up and offer support when you need it. Be involved in your church. Pray daily. Keep close to God, always remembering what He sacrificed for you, and think of what you can do for Him in return.