Make a resolution to start fresh in life
So, it’s time for another New Year’s resolution. I don’t remember if I’ve ever kept one for an entire year.
Every year at this time, people all over America resolve to make changes in their lives. What kind of changes?
I read somewhere that the number one resolution is to lose weight. According to a 2009-10 study by the CDC, nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults over age 20 were overweight.
Low-fat, no-fat, low-carb, no-carb, high this, high that. I usually resolve to lose weight right after a big meal, and I usually hang with it until I’m hungry again.
All kidding aside, there are much deeper questions that every person faces:
How will I spend my life?
What kind of work will I do?
Is there someone out there I can love and share my life with?
Is there a God?
Is there life after this life?
Does what I do really matter?
Can one person really change the world?
Can I have a new beginning, a fresh start in life?
How many of you have ever thought you’d like to be able to put the past behind you and start fresh from a particular moment forward? Is it possible?
It’s not only possible — it is God’s will for your life. You are not forever chained to your past.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done. You don’t know how I’m living.”
You’re right. But Jesus doesn’t base his relationship with us on our past or present behavior. Let me give an example:
There was a woman who’d led a hard life — one filled with a lot of pain and disappointment. No one starts out planning things that way, but her childhood dreams of being swept away by a knight in shining armor didn’t work out.
She had been married five times, and was currently living with some other guy who wouldn’t even marry her. She had an interesting encounter one day while she was getting water at the community well.
John 4: 7-10: When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (8) (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (9) (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (10)
She wasn’t a Jew. She was living a life contrary to what God teaches. Yet in spite of these things, or more accurately because of them, Jesus wanted to meet her. He reached out to her.
Jesus pointed out that he knew of her past and present living arrangements, yet he didn’t condemn her. Instead, he spoke to her about the future.
John 4: 25-26 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.” (26)
This was the moment of decision for the woman. Would she trudge back home to the same toil, the same routine, the same emptiness, the same unhealthy patterns and behaviors that had characterized much of her life to this point, or would she trust God for a fresh start?
She believed that Jesus told her the truth, and she took the first step — she chose, by faith — to receive forgiveness and a new life.
Many skeptics say, “That’s too easy. Put your faith in Christ and you get to start over? Right …”
It’s a problem of perspective. You see, they are valuing the gift of forgiveness by the cost to receive it (“It’s too easy.”)
A gift’s value is never determined by the cost to the one who receives it — it’s a gift — it’s free. We determine the value of a gift by what it cost the giver — and it cost Jesus everything — his life — to offer you this gift.
This year, why not make a resolution to start fresh in life, to make a new beginning. You are much loved. Join us for the journey.
Brad Rud is a senior pastor at the Crossing to New Life at Birchwood, Eagle River Church.