And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21:5

I think one of the greatest things about God is that He can make everything new. No matter how long you have struggled with the same problems, troubles, or sins, God can change them. He is the God of second chances and new starts. Do you believe this? Unfortunately, the start of a new year can remind us of all the times we tried before and perhaps fell short. With God, cynicism and doubt don’t have to take over! Read below for some tips to start the New Year with faith.

Do some honest reflection

Have you spent time thinking about how 2013 went?  What went well, and what do you wish you had done differently? Taking an honest look at the choices we have made and how they have affected us will enable us to change.

In Hebrews 12, the Bible says sin entangles us and prevents us from persevering in the race marked out for us:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

What sins and choices have hindered you from growing this year or becoming the person God intends for you to be? Have deceit and pride kept you from building close relationships, or letting down about what you really think and feel? Or has anger hurt the closeness in your marriage and relationships?

Recognizing and admitting sin actually empowers us to change. Take time to do some honest reflection, do Bible studies about the sins you see, and your faith will grow.

Ask for help

There are reasons why we have certain unhealthy habits  – somewhere deep inside, we usually like them. It feels good to sleep later instead of going to the gym, or to spend money instead of saving it. And while God desires to help us change he knows it will be uncomfortable:

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the fresh wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled and the skins will be ruined (destroyed). But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine immediately desires new wine, for he says, the old is good or better.

Luke 5:37-39 (AMP)

The Bible teaches that while God can help us change, he knows we like our old patterns and he knows change is hard. We need help desiring to change, especially when our old patterns are easier and more comfortable. If we don’t ask God for help we will most likely revert to our old selves when the going gets tough. Decide to pray every day and ask God for help with the area of your life you want to change.

3. Make small daily decisions

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:14 (NIV)

Real change takes time and constant training. Sometimes we expect to change miraculously and quickly, and get discouraged when we don’t see progress. But real change happens in small, sometimes tedious daily decisions.

One big change I want to make this year is to become someone who cares more about pleasing God than receiving the attention and approval of people around me. To me, this is a very big change and one I have tried before not so successfully. This time, I’m trying it differently and measuring success on a daily basis. Did I decide to please God today, when I was tempted to try to please the people around me? From this scripture, I understand that by constantly training myself, my convictions will change.

How can you break down your goals into small daily decisions? These decisions are not glamorous and probably no one will notice – until by constant use you have built a conviction that will last under any circumstances.

Amy Query

Amy Query

Amy Query is an editor of BACC Inspire and avid reader. She studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has over a decade of experience in mentoring, counseling and community organizing. Amy makes a mean hamdilla (quesadilla + ham).

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