Happy new year! This month, we are talking about New Beginnings. We want to know what it looks like to prepare ourselves for a new beginning, how to consecrate a fresh season, and how Jesus is faithful in each new place we find ourselves. You can check out our previous post in this series here: Vickie.
Preparation for the first day of school has consistently been extremely important to me. I have learned over time that how I prepared for the new school year would set the tone for the entire year. So, in my youth, I spent a good chunk of my summer watching music television, so that I could keep up with my peers by knowing all the latest songs. I would spend some of the summer practicing “yo-mama” jokes, in case I needed to defend myself. I would search the mall for the trendiest clothes and shoes, hoping to win the approval of the popular kids in class. And all this work would come to a screeching halt, the night before the first day of school. Around 9 o’clock, as I drifted off to sleep, the nerves would start settling in. My thoughts would bounce between song lyrics and conversations that I had in the past and what I might say differently the next time. The first day of school would come, and I could only hope that what I had prepared was enough.
As an adult, I find myself doing different things before the first day of school. I wear what’s already in my closet as opposed to buying new clothes. I still hope for a good year, but my hope is rooted in something entirely different. And gratefully, it’s the greatest difference between 12 year old me and 25 year old me. Now, as I approach a new semester of college, I cling to the word of God. Because I didn’t know of the power of the word in my youth, I filled my mind with things that could not sustain me. But by God’s grace, I’ve come to learn that filling myself with the living word is the way. The way to prepare for new beginnings is shown to us where God speaks to Joshua,
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8, NLV)
God offers us success in our new beginnings when we fill our hearts and minds with his Word. There we find comfort in our trembling spirits and reassurance in what we put our hope in. It is in the word of God that we are made new. I believe that the way to prepare and consecrate ourselves for a new beginning is by going deeper into the word than we ever have. New beginnings begin in the word of God. That is where we find Jesus.
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him, and nothing
Was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
And his life brought light to everyone.
(John 1:1-4, NLV)
When we prepare for a new beginning by studying the word of God, Jesus becomes our anchor, our light and our guide. When we study the word, Jesus becomes our main line of defense.
Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm… and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13)
I sometimes think about the person I might have grown up to be if instead of arming myself with “yo-mama” jokes, I chose the word of God as my sword. Would the anxiety of the first day of school have disappeared? I don’t know, but I am grateful that in my new season of knowing Jesus more than I ever have, I’ve come to enjoy peace. The unknown of the new season might still remain, but being rooted in the Word guides my heart.
In the word of God, new beginnings can always be found. I believe that when we genuinely seek God through His word, we are being consecrated. Something is happening. When we genuinely seek to know the Living Word, we are forever transformed.
I’ve often let the new year be my catalyst for personal change. I decide that I am going to be a better person in one way or another. I seek to be well-read, so I make a goal to read a book a month. I seek to be healthier, so I make a goal to exercise five days a week. But as I anchor myself in the word of God, I am reminded that the best new beginning happened when Jesus died for me. And my best new beginning happened when I accepted that truth.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Scripture points us to Paul the apostle, where we are met with a plea:
Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice- the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will
learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1)
I think Paul would agree that we can also give our new beginnings as a sacrifice to God. I believe God wants for our new seasons to be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind that He will find acceptable. If this is truly a way to worship Him, I pray God, fill yourself in every part of my new season. I pray that You help me to seek You first. I pray that You give me the wisdom to live my life in a way that is Holy and pleasing and acceptable to you. I can only do it by Your grace and Your mercy. I need You before I can begin.
The new year invites me to reflect on where I was, two years ago, when I first begun to hunger for the Word of God. I was coming out of a season I didn’t know I was coming out of, but knew that I needed Him. I didn’t know where to find Him but I had heard that there was a proverb for every day of the month. To me, that meant a proverb a day might keep the enemy away. I started at Proverbs 17. And how glorious is that? It doesn’t need to be the first of the year for us to have a new beginning with God.
As I was coming out of that season, what kept me from backsliding was the warmth I found in the word of God. I know that I am still on this walk with God, because He rooted me in His Word.I need the Word of God to begin, to continue, to propel and to end each season. I cannot do it without His Word. I believe that if I try do it without His Word, I will go back to being that girl who clung to shallow things in hopes of a good beginning.
The new year invites us to realign our focus. The new year offers us a moment to readjust when we’ve lost sight of Jesus, just as Peter did when he took his eyes off of Jesus walking on water [Matthew 14:22]. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are capable of the impossible. With Jesus, new beginnings can be miraculous. I believe the way to prepare and consecrate ourselves for a new beginning is by anchoring ourselves in the word of God. The word of God is where we find wisdom for our new beginnings.
Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice! On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads. By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud, “I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people…I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment. All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech. Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine. Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees. Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments. I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice. My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver! I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice. Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries…And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful. Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it. Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 8:1-4; 12-21; 32-35, NLV)