“Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy”
—Ephesians 4:24 (NLT).
In her 1908 classic, “Anne of Green Gables,” author Lucy Maude Montgomery said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Although each day is full of promise and expectation, New Year’s is the only day we celebrate with fanfare and excitement. Then, as the days pass, we often find ourselves forgetting January 1 isn’t the only day we can start anew.
When the calendar changes from one year to the next, we’re filled with hope and the possibilities that await us. We’ve made mistakes in the past and vow not to revisit them. But then, we stumble. We vow to make changes on the first day of each year, but our motivation wanes as we get caught up in the mundane.
Former UCLA Basketball Coach John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
Recently, a relative lamented the many mistakes he’d made in his failed marriage. He was heartbroken and taking all of the blame upon himself. Although he had been raised attending church, he had drifted away. As his marriage crumbled around him, he said, “I’ve never felt so lost in my life.”
Then, he admitted he had not been putting God first in his life. Since that realization, he has returned to church, was baptized and is now seeking God’s will each day. During his baptism, the pastor did something unique. While denominations differ in their baptismal rite, I delighted in this pastor’s choice. It was a full body immersion with the pastor laying my relative backward into the water, then lifting him up and placing him face forward into the baptistry.
It's only through God's Holy Spirit we can become a new person.
Explaining the symbolism of this method, the pastor said, “When being placed backward and then forward into the water, it represents a letting go of the past—or the old man—and moving forward, filled with God’s Holy Spirit.”
It’s only through God’s Holy Spirit we can become a new person. When we strive—through making resolutions each year—to make changes in our lives, we most often fail because we try to do it on our own.
The Bible offers the best advice for self-improvement. Humans are creatures of habit. To break an old habit and embrace a new one requires more than self-discipline. If we want to make major changes in our lives, we need to seek our Creator’s help. Think about it for a moment. He’s the One who created us. He holds the owner’s manual. There is no better choice for lasting change in our lives than to look to Him for assistance.
As Christians, we have the strongest motive for changing. God loved us so much He made the ultimate sacrifice. Love for God and appreciation for what He has done for us should be the main reason we decide to make changes.
Ask yourself, “What kind of person do I want to become this year?”