“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:2, NIV
New Years is typically synonymous with resolutions and declarations. I will not do what I did this year, I will pursue health goals, I am swearing off the opposite sex to focus on me, etc. It’s interesting that as humans we have such a draw to newness. New year, new me, new habits. Shiny new devices and cars. Nice new clothes. All things new. But one of the biggest things we consistently seek out is a newness of heart and soul that eradicates the depth of our pain and darkness. We often think the other new things we purchase will bring about this newness to our fading hearts, but the truth is that they don’t. The renewal we truly desire is for the refreshing of our souls.
We desire newness because we need it. We were, at the beginning of creation, aligned with God; then we fell into sin and now are tarnished. The only way to be reconciled to God is to be made new—set apart from sin. The only way to truly resist the temptation to flee from God (and pursue sin instead) is to be made new...transformed. Hunger for renewal is a result of the fall of humanity.
The “new me” that we each long for is indoctrinated by culture’s incessant proclamation that we need the newest, next, biggest thing. It’s essentially a result of elaborate marketing. Our consumerist society entices us to require the newest of everything, in fear that we might be considered less than others. It’s a game of comparison and rank. So come New Year’s Eve, if we haven’t resolved to make our lives or ourselves better or newer in the next year, we are failing to comply with this cultural tradition. Wanting to be new is not in itself a bad thing. What matters most is how we choose to make ourselves new and what we pursue in order to experience this newness.
But God calls us to go against the grain. He calls us to a new kind of newness—the renewing of our minds. This is not a fitness goal nor does it have anything to do with your physical appearance. This is not of monetary value or something we can even purchase. This newness is a soul choice, a bold decision to both pursue and declare Christ's renewal over your heart, mind, and body. New Year’s resolutions can be risky. We must be careful not to simply desire the “new things” that culture instills us to want. These new things will not make the inner you new. Instead, we ought to focus on the renewing of our minds to avoid conforming to the ways of the world. A newness of mind will refresh our souls. May we be renewed and be made beautiful through Christ’s sanctification and grace. May our minds be transformed.
How can I renew my mind you may ask? The only way by which we can get somewhere new is if we peel back the layers of old. Christ must re-write us into new creations. This process is continuous, and any instructions we share here are not exhaustive. We need to de-clutter our minds and remove the lies that culture or pain has instilled in our thinking. Philippians 4:8 states “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV). Take your thoughts captive and intentionally think about the good things, just as Paul instructed in this declaration. Meditating on the goodness of God will lead to God’s goodness. Recognize the lies and faulty ways of your heart, and seek God's truer pathway. He is what is good, true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable... Filling our thoughts with Him will bring our souls a true refreshment in such a way that we become new creations and experience a newness which will not fade or break the way a new purchase does.
New Year’s resolutions are great and all, but don’t wait for a big ball to drop in New York City. Don’t wait until you start a new kitten calendar. Don't wait until 2016 closes to re-write your bad habits which you have already carried over. Resolve to be made new TODAY. Start now. It’s not too late. It’s not too early. Stop whatever you’re doing and turn back to God. Offer up your decisions and your dreams and your goals and your mind and ask God to help you achieve HIS will today and moving forward. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind...
All materials written and designed by Heather & Daniel Christy.