There is something so exciting about the prospect of a new year and a new beginning, a chance for a “redo” and to make this coming year all you’ve ever wanted. Maybe you’ve made specific New Year’s resolutions, or you’re just relieved to have 2018 behind you, but I think we’re all hoping something new will come from 2019. I always use the beginning of a new year to set goals and to evaluate where I am and where I want to be. I ponder the highs and lows of the year prior and look forward into the possibilities of the coming year.
Scrolling through social media this time of year, you see lots of posts declaring, “New Year, New Me!” This saying is meant to convey that the new year holds new beginnings and possibilities. I think we’re all secretly hoping this will be the year that we finally kick the bad habits we’ve been facing for far too long, or that maybe this will be the year we get moving in the direction we want to go, or maybe even that this is the year we stop making excuses for ourselves. Whatever it is that you hope for yourself in the coming year, it can’t compare to the new identity available to you in Christ.
It wasn’t until I had been a believer for about four years that I realized that I had a new identity in Christ. I had a desire to please God, yet I struggled to figure out how it was that I was supposed to not sin anymore or how I was supposed to be this “super Christian” I thought I was supposed to be. I was in a vicious cycle of wanting to please God, but then giving into temptation, then feeling horrible and asking for forgiveness, then starting all over again.
I finally realized in college that I needed to place my identity in Christ and put on my new nature. When I stopped trying to do the Christian thing with my own effort, I found that so much weight was lifted off of me. I began living a life that was truly FREE. I was free to serve the Lord to my full capacity. I was free to say no to the things that had tempted me most. I was free to walk in boldness towards the things God was placing in my heart.
Colossians chapter 3 deals with this very topic. Verse 9 says,
“Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old nature and all its wicked deeds.”
This verse speaks to the truth that in order to put on a new nature, there must be a “taking off” of the old nature. Maybe for you that means surrendering your heart and life to Jesus for the first time. Or maybe you’ve been a believer for a long time but you’ve never laid down your own identity and flesh before the Lord. It’s scary to lay down the things that feel familiar to us, but in order to be the women of God we aspire to be in this new season, it’s time to lay down the old, sinful nature.
This theme continues on in verse 10:
“Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
So now that you’ve stripped off the old, take a moment to receive the new. God didn’t intend to extend salvation to you and then leave you to figure the Christian life out. What He gives us is a new identity, a new nature in Him. It’s not just about receiving forgiveness as the YOU you’ve always been and then continuing to live the same life you’ve always lived. No, it’s surrendering your old identity and taking upon the new.
So I encourage you, sisters, the key to living your best life in 2019 is not found in social media posts and resolutions; it’s found in surrendering yourself, your whole self, to Jesus and taking upon His nature and likeness. Whether you’ve never accepted Jesus or you have believed in Him for decades, make it your aim in 2019 to put on your new identity. New year, new you, sister!
Featured Photo by: Allison Mims