The Do-Over | A New Year of Fresh Starts & Clean Slates
New Year’s Eve is here. It’s likely that at least one person will ask you what your resolutions are for the year ahead. If you have made – or will make – New Year’s resolutions, you are not alone; some estimates say more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Self-improvement, or at least the desire for it, is a shared American hobby. But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions. And even those that do keep them have to continue coming up with new ways to reinvent themselves every twelve months.
One of the reasons for this is that when our resolutions are too audacious, we struggle to change what we don’t like, become discouraged when we fail and ultimately give up altogether. When we’re left alone with the idea that we can fix ourselves, we’re bound to find trouble with forgiving ourselves when we don’t.
So what if instead of aiming for a “new year, new you” resolution every January, we decided that any moment can be a “do-over?”
Matter of fact, God is the originator of the “do-over.” From Genesis to Revelation we see an overarching story of human creation, fall, redemption, and restoration pointing us to the God who offers hope through “do-overs.” The Bible is teeming with stories about people who, by God’s grace and mercy, experienced a do-over: a shady tax collector who became Jesus’ friend and table mate. A murderer and adulterer who became known as a man after God’s own heart. An anxious outcast who led millions of people out of slavery. A promiscuous woman who received forgiveness instead of being stoned to death.
Every one of these “do-overs” began with a forgiving God who reconciled imperfect people as they were, not as they could be. They each needed a God that could enable them to live a life worthy of his call, a God who could make that possible through second chances, fresh starts, clean slates, and new creation. And this life couldn’t be found in behavior modification or a yearly resolution plan, it could only be found in a reworking of the heart because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
This New Year doesn’t have to be one filled with pressures to perfect a new you. Your house still might be disorganized, you might not have six-pack abs by Easter, and you may not have any extra zeros at the end of your bank statement. But this can be a new year of “do-overs” filled with fresh starts and clean slates every day because of a God who loves you for who you are.
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.
– 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (NLT)
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