By Sandra Byrd

Following the financial and epicurean indulgences of December, New Year’s Day often brings a firm commitment, or a commitment to making ourselves firm, and a lengthy scroll of promised to-dos, do-overs, or make-overs.  No more cheese corn. No more cheesecake. Hey – no more carbs at all!

The beauty of a January 1st in each year, or a Monday in each week, is the opportunity to start fresh.  But sometimes in our zeal to begin again, we reach too far, too fast, or have expectations that are not in line with what we can actually accomplish. We are a “doing” culture, and when we fail to meet our new goals we fall off the wagon and, discouraged with ourselves, tuck away the scroll of good intentions and slide back into old habits.

But the good news of Christianity has always been the good news that we don’t have to, in fact, we cannot, regenerate ourselves. We couldn’t do it spiritually at the start – we had to be born again by the Spirit – and we can’t continue or provoke new growth along the way. Only God can do that. And He will – if we step aside and let Him lead.

He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

He says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Romans 12:2a

He says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Here is the freedom offered: If we remain in Him, God will bring the fruit.  If we remain in the Word, He renews the mind – the essence of the man himself – and will change us, as God always does, from the inside out. If we watch and yield we will observe that He is doing the new things – not us – we simply need to open our eyes and see them and then follow his leading. He does not bring new life and change only in simple cases, but to stubborn, long-lasting problems, wilderness, wasteland, places many of us have given up on as year after year our New Year’s resolutions and human endeavor have failed to bring the peace and success we’d hoped for.

I can’t wait to follow.

He says, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5b

{Main photo credit: Photo by Rohit Tandon @ Unsplash }