For many of us, the start of a new year signals a time to seek out new beginnings and changes that might serve us well. Whether we come up with resolutions or simply want to grow in some way, most people want to be healthier in mind, body, and spirit. And as people of faith, we strive to walk more closely with Jesus.
Fresh starts. Do overs. Making a change. It is part of our human nature to desire such things. Whether or not we want to grow or change, we all do. Sometimes changes are uninvited, not under our control, and unwelcome. But the converse is also true. At times changes that occur are changes we have sought.
For those of us who would like to make some changes in this new year, I invite us all to turn to the master change maker, Jesus. Jesus was and is the master of transformations and the more we spend time with and turn to Jesus, the more we will find ourselves growing, discovering, and morphing.
As we ponder changes, I also invite us all to look in the mirror and ask ourselves some questions. What is one of the most important changes I need to make? What change am I feeling compelled to work on? How would I like to be different six months from now? What change would those who love me the most want me to pursue? And what might God be wanting me to change?
As we begin to answer such questions, there are a couple of verses from Paul’s letter to the Philippians that come to mind. I find that they offer encouragement and hope as we strive to make a change. In the first chapter from the Message version of the Bible, Paul writes, “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that God who started this great work in you would keep at it…” In other words, God is at work in us, continually, whether or not we are aware of it.
During those moments in which a certain change feels difficult or impossible, remember Paul’s words that God is working in and through you. Ask God to help you see how God is doing so. Ask God to guide you as to how to work in tandem with God’s efforts.
The second verse I find helpful when it comes to working on change is also from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In chapter 4 he writes, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” (The Message) In another version of the Bible this verse reads, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
In other words, with God’s help, we can make it through, we can endure, and we can succeed in making changes we desire.
As we enter this new year seeking growth and transformation, know that I pray that God will help each of us in our journeys of making needed changes in our lives. This life, after all, is all about growing, learning, and becoming different from who we were the day before. And has been said by many, “God loves and adores us as we are, but too much to leave us that way,” Trust that God is working in and through you and that you can do anything through Christ who gives us all the strength we need.
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