Four Reasons to Begin Again
A New Year presents hope of a new beginning, a fresh start, an opportunity to fulfill past shortcomings or enhance present conditions, or even plan for a better future.
I have some thoughts about New Year resolutions for New Covenant for 2010. We are starting a new teaching series called A Reason to Begin Again. That can mean different things for different people, but for New Covenant, I see it as an opportunity to wipe the dust off our feet and embark on the new adventures God intends for us. An important aspect of this journey is not simply trying to get back to what we used to be, but strive for something new.
In your personal life, you might feel like there’s no reason to push the reset button. If so, I would challenge you and say that I believe God wants us to hit the reset button—or at least the refresh button—as often as possible.
In my teaching this past Sunday I shared four reasons why a person (or a community) may begin again. I’m sure there are many more, but God gave me these four to share with you.
#1 To rebuild what was torn down and destroyed (read the story of Nehemiah).
Maybe there’s something in your life that was torn down or destroyed and God is now telling you it’s time to rebuild it. Despite the heartache and trouble, He’s giving you a reason to begin again. As with Nehemiah, you may run into obstacles and resistance, but despite the barriers, God will prove himself faithful.
#2 To take advantage of second chances (think of the story of Jonah).
Has God given you something to do, but for any number of reasons you managed not to do it? Have you felt the deep surround you? Does it feel like seaweed is wrapped around your head? Well, God is saying to begin again… continue down the path He called you to go down.
#3 When your circumstances change and difficult choices need to be made (read the story of Ruth and Naomi).
Things at New Covenant have been changing, and we may be faced with difficult decisions. God can do great things through those changes, though, if we face them with commitment and faithfulness.
#4 You discover you have been on the wrong path, but now you’ve been shown the right one (Saul’s conversion to become Paul is a perfect example).
This is probably one of the most difficult processes we face: the need to unlearn and relearn. And the longer we have been sprinting down the wrong path, the more difficult it is to unlearn what we have been doing and change our direction. When I taught smoking cessation courses, I knew the longer someone had been smoking, the more difficult quitting would be. One of the ways I encouraged those in the class was to let them know that every time they attempt to quit, it gets them closer to quitting for good. It’s like slowing down so you can turn in a different direction. That gave them reason to begin again.
Can you can identify with one or more of these reasons for beginning again? Do you have life experiences and stories that show how God has been faithful when you were willing to begin again?