The New Year. January 1. Fresh start. New beginning. What is it about January 1st that motivates people to want to start fresh? What is it about the start of the New Year that suddenly gives people that extra burst of “go get ‘em” attitude? In large part it has to do with cultural conditioning. If we’re honest, January 1st is no different than any other day of the year. Technically speaking, every day is the start of a new, fresh 365 day cycle. So what’s so special about January 1st? Most likely we’re motivated more at this time of year because everyone else is as well. We’ve been conditioned to get motivated at this time of year and everyone is posting and sharing their New Year goals so it makes it easier for us to jump in on the goal setting.
I say, “goals all around”. Why not? Regardless of our motivation, if the New Year proves to be a helpful time for you to get the ball rolling, then go for it. The New Year can be a fantastic opportunity to make changes spiritually, maritally, financially, organizationally, physically, etc. So go for it.
The Bible gives us some great examples of those that made fresh starts. In fact, God is in the business of facilitating fresh starts. Peter moved from denying Jesus to declaring His wonderful works. Moses moved from murderer to travel agent extraordinaire. God moved Joseph from abandoned to adopted. All throughout Scripture we see it again and again, God giving His children a fresh start.
As you and I seek this same fresh start in the New Year, let’s take some time over the next few days to examine some of the key ingredients of God inspired fresh starts.
God inspired fresh starts begin with something greater than our motivation. We need more than just us. That’s a tough statement to swallow in our “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” culture but it’s true. Real change, lasting change cannot be accomplished without God’s help. Psalm 121:2 says, “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” We’re foolish to strike out on our when we have God’s help waiting in the wings. When we strive for a fresh start on our own we’re akin to the stranded motorist on the roadside blindly tinkering with his engine while he waits for the real help to show up. Why do we tinker with our lives? Why do we tinker with our goals? Does God not know best? Ahh, there’s the question that begs to be answered.
Perhaps our forsaken goals of the past have been sabotaged by the answer to that question. Do we really believe that God knows best? Do we really believe that our help comes from the Lord? Do we really believe that God is greater than our motivations? If we do not, then it’s no surprise that our best motivations have fallen short. It’s no surprise that we have set goals, given up, set goals, given up, set goals, given up.
Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
We have an amazing example in the person of Jesus Christ. He understands our weakness. He faced the same struggles that we faced. But here’s the Good News, He did it successfully. He accomplished what He set out to do and you and I can as well when we look to Him for motivation, when we look to Him for guidance, when we look to Him strength.
As you move into the New Year, move with motivation. Move with God inspired, God strengthened motivation. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.