January 1 is something sweet in the morning and sliced ham and macaroni salad in the frig, along with any goodies leftover from Christmas (i.e. cookies, date nut bread, candies, fruits and nuts).
January 1 is a full deck on that tablet calendar on your desk, a clean calendar on the wall or the book marker back at Day One of the devotional book.
January 1 is clean and unsullied, like a hillside blanketed in new fallen snow. Not a footprint in sight. It’s a clean slate – a clean year.
January 1 is full of promise and promises. Resolutions they are called. Young people make lots of them. Older people know better, because January 1, in reality, is just another day. Bad habits, like pounds, don’t suddenly fall off on January 1. We are who we were on December 31. We carry the same guy into this pristine world ready to tromp through that blanket of snow and mess up that calendar.
In some ways we might be even more aware of our flaws on January 1, because we’d like a clean start – we’d like to make resolutions and keep them – but the guy in the mirror is the same guy who was there yesterday with a whole year on his back. He may have an empty pack now, but the same stuff is already starting to accumulate there. He can feel it. Feel the pull of the same.
Can we change? Of course we can. Will we? That’s a harder question.
I first thought of writing down the things I’d like to see change about myself in 2014, seal it in an envelope and open it on December 31, but then I thought, if it stays in a sealed envelope I probably won’t even remember what I wrote, and most likely will find myself in the same place a year from now. Better to write it where I can see it every day.
No lasting change will ever be made by sheer human effort. We cannot continue to exert large amounts of will on ourselves every single day. We will grow tired and give up. Real change has to happen by the Spirit. Will is exhaustible; the Spirit is not.
Look, either this Spirit of God in us thing is real or it is not. If it’s real then all sorts of things come to play that can alter the status quo we fear this time of year, things like new life, new mind, new heart, or heck, why not the whole thing … new creation. “Old things are passed away, behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And this has nothing to do with January 1; it has everything to do with January 1 and every day thereafter.
Do we believe it enough to act on it? It’s a moment by moment thing, and it doesn’t start with us; it starts with the Spirit. Reach in for the Spirit. There is power there to change. Will you join me in proving new life this year?