New Beginnings

One of the blessings of the four seasons is that they usher in fresh beginnings. Winter does a good job of killing off much of the previous season’s growth. Spring is a new start with new leaves, new plants and in the animal kingdom, new births. The marking of the seasons are helpful in marking times, the passing of the old and arrival of the new.

Our (Gregorian) calendar does not follow the Jewish year and the Bible says nothing about the first of January as being special. However, the principle of the counting off of the days and years and the marking of a new year has sound Biblical foundations.

As we stand at the end of an old year and the beginning a new one, we once again have the opportunity of making a fresh start. Of course, the Lord gives us this opportunity at any time of the year. But it seems we are a little more open to the possibility of a fresh start at this time of the year. God’s wonderful grace once again calls us to put the past with it’s failures, disappointments and disobedience behind us and to begin afresh with the Lord.

Hezekiah, one of the few good kings of Judah, began the process of spiritual reform on the first day of his reign. He did not put it off until he had settled other matters of state. He began immediately. As Hezekiah did, it may be time for you to begin to clear out your temple and to restore worship, sacrifice, God’s Word and holiness in your life. But, you need to begin today. You may never start if you put it off.

Sometimes we want to make a fresh beginning but we don’t even know where to start. Begin where Hezekiah did – by opening the doors to the temple and to restoring them. This speaks of opening your heart to the light of God’s Spirit and His Word. Nothing can happen as long as your heart and mind remain shut. But as we open ourselves to the Lord, He will begin the work of cleansing and restoration. There was a terrible mess and much work was needed on the inside of the Temple. But that did not deter Hezekiah from opening the doors and tackling the job of cleaning out.

I don’t believe that the Lord is asking you to reform your whole spiritual walk in one day. Even Hezekiah took a long time to get things sorted out. But it must begin with opening the doors and it has to begin today: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). Hezekiah must have had many other important things to do but he recognized that nothing was more important than restoring the nation’s relationship with their God. We may have many things we need to do in this new year, but nothing is more important than restoring our relationship with the Lord. If we can get that right, then everything else will fall into place. If we fail in that, then the rest of this new year will also fail.

Oh, the wonderful grace of God that offers us fresh starts again and again. It does not matter how many times we have failed in the past and how much we have sinned, His blood is able to cleanse us and restore us afresh to His presence. He is able to cast the failures of the previous years in the sea of His forgetfulness and He is able, and willing, to give us a brand new page without any reservations, blame, or guilt.

But if we launch into the new year without doing anything about our relationship with Him, thinking we will catch up later – we never will. Before you know it 2008 will be gone and another year will have been wasted. Also Jesus may come in this year – all the signs indicate that He may very well return this year. So maybe there will not be another beginning of the year for us to make yet another fresh start.

Let’s determine to make this coming year the best year of our lives. A year filled with the excitement, joy and fulfillment that only comes with being in His perfect will. But you have to begin by opening the doors of your heart so the light can shine in. Please make that fresh start right now.