BEGINNING A NEW YEAR WITH THE TRUEST MEANING OF NEW

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Another new year has begun. I wonder how many feel they have opportunity for getting a new start in some area of their life they want to change or improve? The God who Christians worship is a God of newness. His purpose is to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). His purpose is to use his son, Jesus, to make this happen, beginning in the present by making new people out of those who have faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are called to cooperate with him in the process of being made new.

During this Christmas and new year season, I told some of my family members something new I wanted to work on in the coming year. I read them this Bible verse which says, “The one who guards his mouth and tongue, guards his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23).

During this Christmas and new year season, I told some of my family members something new I wanted to work on in the coming year. I read them this Bible verse which says, “The one who guards his mouth and tongue, guards his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23). I explained to them that there are times I say things I feel I should not have said. What I say brings trouble if it hurts someone unnecessarily, or if the words are said harshly, or if they are said without knowing the facts, or if they negatively affect my witness as a follower of Jesus. Some things we say do not help others in a positive way and often contribute to broken relationships. For a numbers of reasons, I want to get better at controlling things I want to say, and how I say them. This does not negate telling people hard to hear truths they may need to hear, but it enables us to say things for their well-being out of love for them. Proverbs 21:23 is a word from God to help shape me into the new person he has created, and is creating.

To make this change, my goal is to pray for God to help me accomplish this verse every day, as well as praying it every time I know I am entering a situation where I may say the wrong thing, or say it in an inappropriate way.

To make this change, my goal is to pray for God to help me accomplish this verse every day, as well as praying it every time I know I am entering a situation where I may say the wrong thing, or say it in an inappropriate way. Furthermore, I have asked a friend to text me every day that he can, to remind me of my prayer and my goal. I know from experience how hard it is to make changes in one’s life. Jesus said, without me you can do nothing. Part of his work of creating all things new is to create me new. I need his presence, grace, guidance and power to enable his ultimate purpose for a new world to happen in and through me.

Those who are truly Christian need to get a bigger vision of God’s plan for the world and why we are here. The reason God the Father sent Jesus into the world was to bring his kingdom and good will on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus demonstrated by his life and work what God’s kingdom of love and goodness is like. By cooperating and growing to be more like our Lord, we participate in God’s will and have a part in fulfilling his purpose for a new world of his making.

When Christians make an effort to be more like Jesus, we are doing many things the Bible says for us to do.

When Christians make an effort to be more like Jesus, we are doing many things the Bible says for us to do. For example, not only are we bringing his kingdom of righteousness and his will on earth as it in heaven (Matthew 6:10), we are helping do it by putting aside our old self and putting on the new self (Ephesians 4:22-24). Also, we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), we are not being conformed to this world, but are being transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), we are having Christ’s attitude of not merely looking out for our own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4-5), we are walking in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us (Ephesians 5:2), and we are ensuring an abundant entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11). Being new means discovering the new that God is creating, then working out that newness simultaneously with God at work in us (Philippians 2:12-13).

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Jay Ashbaucher
Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.