Monday, January 10, 2011

Fresh Start

Why is it we see a New Year as a chance for a “new” beginning or fresh start when God’s grace gives us that opportunity daily?

Each year we make resolutions as to how we will do better; to which we always start January 1. We resolve to eat less, work-out, go to church, read our Bible, clean-up our language, stop drinking, or stop smoking, all in an effort to have a new start. lists the following as the most popular New Year’s Resolutions:
  1. Spend more time with family and friends
  2. Get fit
  3. Lose weight
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Enjoy life more
  6. Quit drinking
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Learn something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organized

The funny thing is that we usually make these resolutions, and many more, in advance. However, we choose to hold off until January 1 for implementation. We usually even go so far as to gorge ourselves with food the last few days, smoke an extra pack of cigarettes, go on a spending spree, or knock back the bottle just before we quit cold turkey (or is it start eating turkey?). My father-in-law has an interesting theory. He believes that if text messaging would have come before a voice cell phone that everyone would want to talk on the cell phone now! In the same way, if New Year’s was August 12 we would wait until the 12th day of August to resolve for change.

What a joy it is to have a Savior that will save us and forgive us any day of the year. I remember a few years back when we visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This beautiful church has “Holy Doors” that are only opened during a Holy Year (Jubilee), which occur every 25 years. On the first day of this holy year the doors are opened. It is believed that God shows mercy and forgiveness to those that enter through these doors. New beginnings are not reserved for the first day of each year and they are not reserved for a Jubilee by which we receive via entering a door. No, new beginnings are provided daily, hourly, even by the second through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are not reserved for someone of a certain status. They are not even reserved for someone that strives to earn them. They are reserved for ALL of US if we so desire to ask.

This is a very difficult task for us to understand and/or accept. “Most of us believe in God’s grace – in theory,” says Brennan Manning, “But somehow we can’t seem to apply it in our daily lives.” Paul writes in Ephesians, “Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit” (2:8-9).

“Through no merit of ours, but by His mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of grace.”

Brennan Manning

Good luck on your resolutions (if you haven’t already quit them) or fresh new start. Just remember who gave it to you! Aspire to new heights! Grace be with you.

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