“Out with the old, in with the new!”

“Out with the old, in with the new!”

We often hear this kind of platitude around New Year’s Day. For many, January 1st is a time to make resolutions, sign up for gym memberships, start a new diet, or quit a bad habit. In short, it’s a time when many of us desire something new in our lives and, really, desire to have a better life. Sadly, most of those gym memberships will go unused after January. Valentine’s Day will cause many to give up their diets and simply forget to start again. And we will quickly become discouraged when, despite our best efforts to change ourselves, we discover that our external circumstances may not make that change easy.

Sorry if this sounds hopeless. I do pray that, if you have made a resolution, God will grant you the strength to stick with it this year. But more than that, I pray that each of us, when we may feel hopeless, will know that God offers us real hope: a hope that is guaranteed to last well past February and into eternity, a hope that is rooted out of the reach of our external circumstances, a hope that will actually change us from the inside out.

“Out with the old, in with the new” may have become a cheesy platitude in our culture, but there is a hint of Biblical wisdom here. Not everything old is bad, and not everything new is good. But there is something in each of us that longs for change, for newness, to be done with what was and move on to what will come. The Apostle Paul wrote something similar in Scripture: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I can almost hear the excitement in Paul’s voice (or his pen?) as he wrote this!

The newness that Scripture promises us here is very different than a New Year’s resolution. It’s the newness of the hope I mentioned earlier. Specifically, newness “in Christ.” When we embrace Christ, he takes our old life to the garbage dump for us. And in exchange he gives us a new, abundant life full of love, grace, and joy. It is a unique kind of new – a kind of new that will never get old. This new life he gives us is his own life.

As you begin this new year, you may be feeling hopeless, lost, discouraged, or confused. If that’s you, I urge you to cry out to Christ, to give him your life and to experience for yourself the lasting newness of his life and the joy of knowing you never have to return to where you were. His offer is free and his invitation is always open.

To those who have already given your lives to Christ, I offer this exhortation. Remember that you are in Christ! Your old self is gone. He has taken your sin, shame, and suffering on himself. Don’t go dig it back up from the garbage dump. He has already taken out the old and come in with the new. Instead, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look always to him for hope, joy, and life. If you’re in the mood for something good and new this year, surrender your old self to Christ each day. Let him make you new again and again and again.

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