Devotionals

Can A New Year Really Give Me a Fresh Start?

5 Mins read

The idea of a new year providing a new start for you may seem like a cliche at this point, but it’s truly possible. When you embrace the newness of a year and shift your perspective from a new year just being another cycle of days that will mirror the previous 365, you can truly experience the blank slate that a new year provides.

Have you heard the phrase “new year, new me” so many times that it seems like a worn out cliche? If so, you’re not alone. We’ve seen so many commercials, advertisements, and other items that tell us that a new year can bring a new beginning to us, that we largely shut out these ideas. Afterall, isn’t January 1 really just the day after December 31?

What if January 1 was something more? What if a new year really meant the chance for a fresh opportunity? Would you approach the coming year any differently if there were really some secret to unlocking the door to a clean slate? If you’re like most people, you would jump at hte opportunity for an authentic new beginning. Through Christ, your new year can truly be the beginning of a new life.

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It’s important to understand that the new year isn’t going to create a new you in a completely literal sense. Obviously, you’re not going to wake up on January 1 and have no debt, be in perfect physical condition, and have all of the relationships in your life be in perfect harmony. However, there are steps that you can take to improve those three areas according to Scripture.

We’re going to focus on those three areas (finances, personal health, and relationships) because those are the three areas that most New Year’s Resolutions involve. Unfortunately, most of those resolutions (more than 70% according to some studies) are forgotten about by the end of February. That’s right; in less than 60 days most of the resolutions that we are so passionate about are completely forgotten.

If you could actually improve those three areas of your life, how different do you think things would be for you? Scripture provides a wonderful insight into all three of these areas and can give you the help that you need to truly make a change that will impact your life as a whole. Before you give up on the idea of a new year truly providing the chance for a new beginning, consider tackling one or more of those common resolution-related areas from a Scriptural perspective.

Physical Fitness

1 Timothy 4:8-9 (TPT)
For athletic training only benefits you for a short season, but righteousness brings lasting benefit in everything; for righteousness contains the promise of life, for time and eternity. Faithful is the Word, and everyone should accept him!

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This passage of Scripture is one of the most misunderstood, misquoted pieces in the entire New Testament. Unfortunately, many people take the first part of this verse and say that Paul is claiming that there is no point in improving your physical condition. That’s simply not the case. In fact, Paul said that there are benefits to exercise (The Passion Translation calls it “athletic training). His assertion that that being in good spiritual condition is more important doesn’t mean that physical fitness is a bad thing. Instead, Paul is simply saying that nothing matters more than living a life of righteousness.

God wants us to take care of our bodies. There are multiple verses that refer to our bodies as a temple of God, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. However, that’s not the only reason that God wants us to keep ourselves healthy. First of all, God loves His people, and wants us to experience the good things that are associated with good health. While God is certainly more than capable of healing any disease known to man, He also doesn’t expect us to live a life full of bad habits and then expect Him to fix the damage that we’ve caused.

Secondly, God wants us to enjoy good health and the long life that it includes so we can spend more time carrying the glorious message of the Gospel to people around us. In addition to the universal purpose of making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), God also has a specific purpose for you. When He created You, He did so for a reason, and you can spend more time embracing that purpose if you’re healthy and living a long, abundant life. If you’re considering adding physical fitness to your New Year’s resolutions this year, consider doing so for spiritual reasons more than anything else.

Finances

2 Corinthians 9:7 (TPT)
Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring freely from the joy of giving-all because God loves hilarious generosity! Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, sot hat you will have more than enough of everything-every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do.

While losing weight and being healthier is the most common New Year’s resolution, improving personal finances is the second. However, in the same vein, when you approach this goal from a spiritual perspective, you will find more success.

When we think about improving our finances, we automatically think about keeping more of our money. Afterall, the end goal is to have more money in the bank account, right? What if the key to having more was giving some of your money away? This doesn’t mean that you don’t start using a budgeting plan and cutting out unnecessary expenditures. However, it does mean that you include giving into that budget.

Dealing with finances is one of the most difficult aspects of living a Godly life. That is primarily because we consider our finances to be one of the most personal aspects of our lives. However, Scripture promises that God’s love for “hilarious generosity” unlocks the door to abundance. If you want to add financial discipline to your New Year’s resolutions, include giving in the plan.

Relationships

Matthew 5:23-24 (TPT)
“So then, if you are presenting a gift before the altar in the temple and suddenly you remember a quarrel you have with a fellow believer, leave your gift there in front of the altar and go at once to apologize to the one who is offended. Then, after you have reconciled, come to the altar and present your gift.

Finally, improving relationships with others is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions according to some studies. If that’s on your list, Christ laid out a beautiful path to reconciliation in The Sermon on the Mount. In addition to this passage, there are multiple other verses in Scripture that lay out the path to improving relationships.

At the heart of each of those verses is the command to go to the person who you’re experiencing a relational divide with, and work things out. In the verses we just read, Christ put the onus of the reconciliation on the shoulder of the reader. According to Him, if you know that someone has something against you, you should go to them and apologize. He didn’t say to do so only if you know that you’re in the wrong. Instead, making peace is more important than protecting pride.

If you want to restore some personal relationships in the New Year, use the words of Christ as a guide.

Millions of people will make resolutions concerning these three areas as the calendar turns over to January 1. Using the truths of Scripture as your guide and motivation in your resolutions can make them even more likely to last.

A Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, as we get ready to approach a new year, I want to experience the refreshing and renewal that it can provide. Help me to approach any of the resolutions I intend to make from a Scriptural perspective so I can be empowered and motivated by Your Holy Spirit. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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