“New Year, New Me” was the slogan plastered all over social media leading up to 2018. It sounds great—a new year and a new opportunity to recreate yourself. But the thing is, there is nothing that makes us magically change into a new person on January 1st. We bring our sinful self and all its baggage into the New Year. Our sin struggles aren’t confined to 365 days, but can follow us throughout our lives as we continually seek to be dependent on God. The same ‘me’ has entered into 2018, but God is constantly growing and shaping me. He will never change.
The Longing for Newness
As humans living in a broken world, we long for a fresh start and a new beginning. The last week of December is a natural time of reflection about our lives. These times can stir up guilt and shame inside of us due to feelings of inadequacy and failure. Maybe 2017 was the year that you had resolved to finally “get it together”—to make the grades, to fix that relationship, to stop relying on drugs or alcohol for comfort, or to get that promotion at work. But as last year drew to a close, you found that you fell short, that you didn’t make the progress you had promised yourself you would. For those apart from Christ, each day is like a December 31st, falling short of expectations from ourselves and the world. In Romans, Paul tells us: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). If you stop there, the message is hopeless; there is nothing to look forward to because you will fall short each and every day. But Paul continues, “and [all] are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The beauty of the gospel is that we have a great hope through Christ Jesus. If we are in Christ, we are a new creation, and January 1st had nothing to do with it.
The Reality of New Creation
“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)
What wonderful news! For the Christian, you are already a new creation—Christ’s blood has covered your sins. This promise isn’t just incredible news for the believer. For the skeptic and nonbeliever, you have the opportunity to put your trust in Jesus and become a new creation. The opportunity is not closed for you. Why not resolve to make 2018 the year that you are truly made new?
So, as we move into 2018, ask yourself: “Do I desire to see Jesus more clearly this year?” If you have things that you want to change, that’s okay. It is natural to desire change, but this desire should not be ultimate. It is biblical to desire to grow in Christ-like character, but this transformation doesn’t come by your own strength. Change comes through reliance on God and allowing him to cultivate his character within you, and in turn, your love for him grows deeper. You don’t have to wait for the end of a calendar year to make a resolution to love God more. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), so may you give yourself grace to continue to press on in this race of life. May you ultimately resolve to love God more and allow that to fuel every other area of your life!
-Amy Overton (College Team)