We always think of a new year as a new beginning, and it certainly is that. A fresh start, a time to make changes in our lives.
But changes don't just happen by accident or chance - we have to deliberately make choices to change. What improvements do we want to make, in order to have the more abundant life Jesus came to give us?
What can we do to make our lives happier, healthier, and more satisfying?
It helps to make a plan for what we want to accomplish in the coming year. Having measurable goals helps us to evaluate our progress as we move ahead.
In order to make a plan to go forward, however,
it is necessary to look back also.
There are many reasons for looking back. For one, we can review all the good times; the times God provided for our needs, the times we enjoyed an unexpected blessing,
the laughter and great memories with those we love. When life get tough - as it does for all of us - looking back and remembering God's faithfulness in the past gives us hope for the future.
Even in the midst of our trials and tribulations, we can always look back and remember that God has not forgotten us in our difficulties; He knows us by name, He has numbered every single hair
on our heads, and He has numbered all the days of our life before one of them ever came to be!
Just as importantly, we can look at our failures and what we need to change. No one can change what happened in the past, of course,
but we can evaluate the past and make changes for the future. Ignoring the past instead of learning from it is a recipe for trouble; unless we deal with the past
effectively, it will come back to bite us, every time. Burying things that have hurt us or mistakes we have made, or sins we have committed, only allows the enemy to use them against us, time after time.
We need to bring these things into the light of Jesus Christ's love and forgiveness, and learn from Him how to handle the past with grace, truth, and wisdom.
Then we need to let go of what can't be changed anyway. Let go of those things that are weighing us down with
guilt, shame, and regret. Throw out the junk that has been cluttering up our minds and our thoughts, keeping us from focusing on Jesus. Get rid of bad habits or thoughts, or
hidden, "secret" sins that are killing us spiritually, if not physically. To be able to fill our lives with good things, we have to toss out the bad things.
This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote that we must forget the past, and reach ahead to those better things that God has for each of us in Christ Jesus!
Our lives here on earth are short, and time marches on quickly. What we do with the time we're given is up to us. A new year is a great time to sit back and evaluate
our lives, where we've come from, and where we want to go from here. It's a gift from God to us - a fresh beginning. What are you going to do with your fresh start? May 2019 be
a great year filled with God's blessings for each of us!