I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”
It is still mid-January, so let me be among the last to wish you a Happy New Year. And maybe the first to wish you a Happy New You! Wouldn’t it be nice to have a “new” you? Not just a redecorated you. A new you.
Many of our New Year’s resolutions – many already forgotten – fall into the category of redecoration: lose five pounds, change this habit, wear flashier clothes. But redecoration often isn’t enough. What we really need is to be renewed.
Flip through your bibles and you’ll find that God is a God of “renewal:”
(Ruth 4:15) He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.
(Psalms 51:10) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
(Isaiah 40:30-31) Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Who doesn’t want to be renewed in body, mind and Spirit? A renewed life? A renewed spirit? A renewed you? And that’s what God can do for you. A happy new year. A happy new you.
(Ezekiel 36:26-28) A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh… and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
OK, but how? How do we not settle for life redecoration, but instead achieve life renovation? Well, there are three steps, and spending the remaining 11 months working together on them would be a pretty great idea.
Step number one: We need to be reborn. We need to get on our knees before God, and say, “I can’t do it alone. I need your mercy. I need to be reborn. I need a fresh start. I need to be washed from my sins. I need to be renewed by the Holy Spirit. I need Jesus to be my Lord.” Have you done that in your life? Have you asked God for forgiveness, for new birth, for the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Step number two: We need to be renewed. Here’s how Paul put it:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God–what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
We need to be renewed, and that renewal starts with putting the right things into our minds. We need to feed our minds with good food. Soul food. Start with the Bible. Find a great Bible Study group, and fill your mind with good things!
Step number three: we need to be refreshed. The best renovation in the world, if it isn’t properly maintained, will ultimately fail. We need constant maintenance. We need to be refreshed. Again to Paul:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:16-17):
That’s what Sunday morning is all about – being refreshed together in God, through worshipping together with other Christians. Recommit to your church, be faithful in attendance, joyful in participation, and be refreshed.
We need to be reborn. Renewed. Refreshed. And we can be. It can be a happy new you.