The Best Year Yet

Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!

Every time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve and the New Year begins, I like to reflect on what the changing of the year means to my life. This year, I was reminded that every New Year is a new opportunity to decide how I am going to live. The truth is I have this opportunity every time I get out of bed, but the significance of moving from one year to the next brings it the forefront of my mind. With the changing of the calendar I have the chance to also turn over a new leaf in my life.

This opportunity is something we often miss. Sometimes it is because we are too busy to take a step back and consider how we might live differently in the New Year. Other times it is because we made a resolution to live differently at some point in the past, but nothing ever changed. There could also be a deeper reason we do not take this step going into the New Year. It is possible that we have decided that the person that we are and the things we have done in the past is all we will ever be. In other words, we have come to the conclusion that nothing can ever change so we do not want to waste our time thinking about something that will never happen. The problem with believing this is it is not true.

In one of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth, he writes about this very subject. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV 1984) While this is a short verse it has a lot of power. Paul is telling the church in Corinth that they do not have to be defined by their “old self” if they have a relationship with Christ. The same is true for us. If we have a relationship with Christ, God has given us the ability to start over and live differently. We no longer have to be defined by who we were because we are no longer that person. In Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome our past and become the person God created us to be. If anyone would know this it would be Paul.

What does this all mean as we start 2015? If you do not have a relationship with Christ, maybe 2015 is the year to consider what that might mean and how that might change your life. If you do have a relationship with Christ, it means 2015 can be the year when you truly decide to live as if 2 Corinthians 5:17 is true. In a relationship with Christ, there is freedom and joy, but we have to decide to live into that truth. Instead of defining ourselves by who we were, we have to choose to allow God to make us who we can be. This is my hope and prayer for 2015. I believe it can be the best year yet. Do you?

– James Belt 

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