The new year marks an opportunity for a new beginning!
Yes, clearly, every day is an opportunity for a new beginning. But a new year usually triggers something inside of us to leave last year in last year and begin again in this new year—we anticipate some positive changes in our life as we close on one year and start a new one.
Let’s take a look at how God views the new year so we can see that if God blesses us with another year there should be a certain way we start it.
4 Ways to Begin the “New Year”
1. Reflecting and celebrating on God’s deliverance in our life
When God first officially established the new year, He chose the Passover—the day when He had completely delivered the Israelites from Egypt—as the beginning (Exod. 12:1-2, 40-42, 50-13:4, Deut. 16:1). God’s first “New Year” is brought in with a great deliverance, and then an order for His children to start every new year remembering what He has done for them by celebrating Passover. That’s a way to begin the new year, reflecting and celebrating in your heart, in your mind, and in your standard of living the great deliverance God has done in your life by way of Jesus—the Passover Lamb—being slain for your sin penalty. Think on that.
God could’ve allowed you in any other year to die in your sins, but in His sovereign patience, He anticipated the day when He would deliver you from your Egypt! And every new year you enter should be an automatic reminder and celebration of your deliverance by God’s hand!
Now that’s just the first “New Year”. In three other significant accounts we see God is all for “A New Year, A New Beginning”.
2. Appreciating God’s glory in our lives and offering our lives in response
"Then the Lord said to Moses: “Set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month…. So the tabernacle was set up on the first day of the first month in the second year." (Exod. 40:1-2, 17, NIV)
In this new year we see that the Tabernacle was set up. The Tabernacle—i.e. the sacred tent of meeting, which housed the Ark of the Covenant—was a constant sign of the LORD God’s dwelling place among the Israelites. The new beginning in this new year was God’s presence/His glory amongst them leading them into fulfillment of His promises! So how much more shall God’s glory be amongst us, us who have received “Immanuel” and in whom the Holy Spirit now lives, leading us into the fulfillment of His promises for our lives? Think on that. That’s something to get excited about!
God’s glory now sits upon the mercy seat of our heart! We are God’s temple! And our temple possesses the Holiest of Holies place! No wonder why God takes it personal when we destroy our temple with sexual immorality, drugs, alcohol, obesity, anorexia, idolatry, etc. He takes it personal because His presence/His glory is encamped within us, because we are His temple not built with human hands. Do you appreciate that, truly? No veil separates us from God’s presence. However, our own personal sin can hinder us from intimacy with Him behind the veil.
And there’s a question for you. What personal sin or carnal struggle have you brought into this new year that is hindering you from intimacy with God?
So here’s another way to begin the new year, appreciating God’s glory in your life by offering your life in response. The Israelites were commanded to continually offer burnt offerings at the door of the Tabernacle just to meet with God (Exod. 29:42). How much more shall we not delay in offering those areas in our lives that we’ve been keeping to ourselves as a burnt offering to Jesus—who is the personal manifestation of the Tabernacle—in this new year?
3. Highlighting God’s faithfulness to His promises in our lives
“5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.... 9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.”
“19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho.” (Josh. 3:5, 9-11; 4:19, NIV)
In this new year we see the Israelites crossed the Jordan. Crossing the Jordan for the new generations was as paramount as the prior generations crossing the Red Sea. That’s definitely a new beginning! Crossing the Jordan signified God’s faithfulness to His promises. And that is another way to begin the new year.
Stop highlighting the negatives around you and in your life, but rather highlight God’s faithfulness to His promises in your life. You have health. You have shelter. You have food. You have family and/or friends. You can use your mind and other abilities. You have a purpose you will fulfill before you leave this earth. You have the protection of a sovereign God. You have eternal life. You have a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Do I need to go on.
4. Claiming and walking in our victory through Christ over sin
“When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.".... 17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?"”
“When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.” (Matt. 26:1-2, 17; 27:1, ESV)
We've already read that Passover is during the first month of the year. What a way for God to bring in the new year, with the crucifixion of Jesus! This fourth account is truly the epitome of “A New Year, A New Beginning”.
In the beginning of this new year, the death and resurrection of Jesus was the straw that broke the back of sin and death, giving us all the possibility of a new beginning, hope of life after death, and the accessibility to His power in our daily lives. The Bible says in 1Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And that there is the right way to start the new year, claiming and walking in our victory through Christ over sin day-by-day.
What positive changes do you need to make in your life this year?
“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14, CSB).
Leave last year in last year, and take this opportunity in this new year to petition God for His help and power and then do your part to make the changes you know need to be made.
I’ll end with this, it’s a quote from Matthew Henry. He wrote, “When a new year begins, we should think of serving God more and better than we did the year before.” And that pretty much sums it up right there. New Year, New Beginning.