“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 desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
“Let go of the old so you can completely take hold of the new.” Joyce Meyer
- Find a cozy place to spend time with your Lord today. Bring your Bible and your journal. Take a deep breath, calm your spirit, and notice the blessings around you. Rest in God’s peace.
- Read Isaiah 43:16-21. Write Isaiah 43:18-19 in your journal.
Take Hold of God’s Blessings
New Year’s resolutions speak to our innate desire to begin anew and transform into a better version of ourselves. The idea that each year brings a fresh start and new opportunities to learn and grow is not only appealing, it is Biblical. In fact, on Mount Sinai God commanded His people to spend the first 10 days of each New Year focusing on how to change and grow in the months ahead (Leviticus 23:23-28).
These 10 days are called the High Holy Days, culminating with the Day of Atonement on day 10. God’s people observe them in earnest prayer, fasting, and introspection, as well as making amends (atoning) for transgressing God’s Law before the Day of Atonement, starting each year with a clean slate to enjoy the blessings ahead. The High Holy Days are a beautiful celebration of God’s grace and redemption.
Your sins don’t accumulate throughout the year until the Day of Atonement arrives; God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Hence, the Day of Atonement is for man, not for God. Even though He has readily forgiven all our sins, we don’t always forgive ourselves so freely. Do you have burdens you have carried for years? Do you have a negative self-image or shame, or some unbearable sin you can’t seem to get past? What about “mom guilt” from holding yourself to impossible standards?
Jesus has saved us from the bondage, penalty, and guilt of our sin. He has forgiven our sins, but we will only experience freedom when we receive that forgiveness (Galatians 5:1). Through this extended New Years celebration, we have an annual opportunity to shed our past mistakes and partake in the blessings our Father has laid before us. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18). God made this promise when the Israelites were in the depths of despair, floundering in the dire consequences of their sin. Even in His discipline, God’s mercy is glorious. To deeply enjoy life in Christ, we must stop dwelling in the past and live in the present in order to set our sights on a brighter future.
Just imagine what a difference it would make if you were to start this tradition. Each year, spend 10 days focusing on how God is moving in your life, just as God commanded the Israelites to do. Instead of beating yourself up over eating too many cookies or overspending over Christmas, just let the extraneous burdens go. Instead, focus on how God is working in your life and your heart. It is far too easy to miss what God is doing when you are focused on your own agenda. Chances are, the plans God has for you are better than anything you could come up with anyway!
Blessings and Love,
Questions to Ponder
- What thoughts, attitudes, or burdens are drawing your heart away from Jesus?
- In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to me and I will answer and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Call to your Savior. Pray that He will show you how to let your burdens go, and trust that He will answer you. Lay your troubles at the cross, and leave them there.
You may be able to come up with some worthy goals: organize your schedule, lose a few pounds, keep your house cleaner. These all may be good plans, but are they the best God has for you? Only God knows what is in store for the year ahead, so shouldn’t you first consult Him before making your plans? Don’t miss God while pursuing your agenda.
Over the next 10 days, use your quiet moments to draw near to God. Examine your life and your thoughts. Repent and let go of all guilt and condemnation. Talk to your Heavenly Father about how you can live better next year. Ask how He is working in your life, and how you can work with Him.