Each year I think of goals and resolutions. I am just like everybody else and I make a list each year of what I want to accomplish. I keep some of my resolutions and I forget about most of them.
I think about my new goals for 2015 and I think about how exciting it is to have a “do over”; a chance where we can start fresh and have a new beginning. That made me think about what a new beginning is all about.
When I reflect on 2014, I tend to see my failures and regrets. I remember the the things that I didn’t do, the mistakes I made and the missed opportunities. Reflection often brings shame and overshadows the many joys of the past year. Because really, 2014 was a good year. It was a year of healing, growth and redemption. It was a year to be celebrated.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has gone, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Paul wrote these words. He believed these words. He experienced these words. If I can think of any biblical character that experienced a new beginning, it is Paul. Paul knew. Paul knew the redemptive power of Christ’s love and sacrifice. He felt the change from his past to his beginning. Paul was able to overcome who he used to be to who God called him to be. Paul didn’t let his past keep him from being used by God. He didn’t let public opinion make him want to keep his story a secret. He didn’t let shame and regret from past behavior keep him from God’s purpose. Instead, he used his past to share the power of God’s forgiveness.
God used a man that used to kill Christians and changed his heart and gave him a new beginning that he became one of the most influential man in history.
Our past does not have to define our future. Our shame does not have to continue to be carried; our fears do not have to hold us back. Our regrets do not have to be larger than our intentions. If we believe these lies (and that’s what they are); than we are not acknowledging the full redemptive power of God’s grace. God is bigger than our past. He IS our future; He IS our hope. He IS our new beginning. The consequences of our past may still be there, but so is God. And God can use each one of us right where we are. Even with the garbage that we have created with our choices.
What is holding you back this year? I encourage you to keep the past from influencing your future. Join me and let’s make 2015 a new beginning….