Today begins the first day of the new year. As we begin a new year, I can’t help but reflect on 2012. Over the past couple of weeks I can’t help but ask myself – did I live it well?
The enemy has been very good at keeping me focused on all of my failures in 2012. It’s very easy for me to look back and reflect on the mistakes I made, the failures I accomplished, the hurts I’ve caused, and the time I’ve wasted. Satan wants to keep me focused on all of those things, because if my focus is on those things, then my focus is not on Christ.
It took some really difficult struggles at Christmas time for me to realize that God had been at work, He had been answering our prayers, and I was too busy focusing on the negative to see that He was even at work. God is always at work, whether we see it or not.
Many people look to a new year as a fresh start, as a sort of ‘wiping the slate clean’ kind of start. I guess up until this year I have always looked at in in that way as well. Something happened, although I’m not sure exactly what it was, but I am beginning to see the new year as a continuation of the Spirit’s sanctifying power at work in my life. I’m not where I was in life, 5 years ago, or one year ago, and the start of a new year isn’t necessarily a fresh start for me, but a continuation of God working in and through me.
Sure, I don’t want to make the same mistakes in 2013 that I made in 2012, but I am not looking towards a date change to rectify those mistakes. I’m not looking to wipe the slate clean, because even as painful as those mistakes have been, God is using them to conform me into the image of His Son. I’m not looking to a new year to help me in any of those ways, I’m looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Lasting change will not come through a bunch of goals and promises to start off the new year in hopes that we “get it right this year”. That kind of change only happens through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It begins with submitting our wills to His, and trusting that His plan for our lives is better than our own, whether it’s January 1st or the middle of October.
So I pray whatever your focus is for this upcoming year, that instead of reflecting on your failures and setbacks from last year, that you will fix your gaze upon the only One who is worthy of our focus and attention.