Opinion  |  

Here’s how to make 2017 better

Did you think that 2016 sucked? About time for something new, then

Stop. Pause. Think about how weird it is that we can hang so much on the calendar ticking over from December 31 to January 1.

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At any other time of year, we are able to make changes and try to follow new paths or pursuits. No, really, that is possible. But so often, you and I are unable to do anything without the New Year being involved.

Do something new when it’s only July or August? How dare you suggest such a thing! Instead, waiting for the clock to strike midnight on December 31 remains the accepted, proper time to do something new in our lives.

As we again hit the New Year, what are you thinking you might do differently?

I’ve been thinking a bit about how I can use the rest of the year to embrace the new, because the new isn’t just on offer when New Year’s Eve turns into New Year’s Day.

The new is now, tomorrow and any other day.

NEW LIFE

How will you react when January 1 becomes January 2 and January 3, and the new life you imagined is, pretty much, the same as the old one from 2016? Sounds like a recipe for another annual dose of disappointment and regret about failed New Year’s resolutions.

We can avoid such despair, though, by not putting pressure on ourselves to come up with a totally new life that will last. I can’t possibly guarantee that for myself, and I’m sure you can’t make that happen for you, either.

But new life is on offer to any of us when we latch on to the promises of God.

A new life is available – all year round – when you or I give ourselves over to the one who died to bring it to us. Because its not about what we do but what Jesus has done.

Sure, it can take a bit to get our heads and hearts around that, but Romans 6:4 confirms at least one enticing thing: an entirely new life is available to you or me, promised by God.

NEW YOU

Will 2017 be The Year of the New You?

What are you going to do that’s fresh and different? I think I might again think about doing more exercise and getting fitter and then notice, as 2017 goes along, how the New Me is a lot like the Old Me – who thought a lot about becoming a New Me, without anything much changing.

Maybe you will have more success at building a New You in 2017, but why are we even tinkering around the edges, with a new hobby, haircut or habits?

Why don’t I just tap into the New Me that I already am, as a follower of Jesus?

As 2 Corinthians 5:17 sweetly says, the Old You is gone and the New You is here – if you have the New Life in Jesus. Hooray!

What that will look like, on a daily basis during 2017, is far more exciting than better abs or cooler recipes using kale. This is a New You (and a New Me) created by the saving love of God through Jesus.

Double hooray!

NEW EVERYTHING

Search back through what happened during 2016 and the list of bad, bad, bad news is quite staggering.

From refugee crises to urban war zones, self-centred politics to terror events, horrific crimes and celebrity deaths, 2016 was awash with the sorts of distressing things you and I probably want to be one million miles away from.

Will 2017 be any different?

I have no idea, but I do know that at some future point, there will be a new version of everything that is so incredible and right that my heart will want to burst.

Such a triumphant and tantalising “New Everything” is signposted by verses like Revelation 21:1.

The Bible’s overview of God’s relationship with people finishes on a simple but potent note, assuring us that a time is coming when God will establish a new heaven and new earth. A new overhaul of the whole universe, according to God’s good order and loving ways.

While 2017 might not deliver the New World Order that you or I are hoping for right now, how might God’s promises of a New Everything shape how we live this new year (and the next, and the next…)?

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