January is here and I’ve made some resolutions. I know that may sound cliche. I know there are many people that purposely avoid making New Year’s resolutions. So have I in the past. It can so easily feel like we are just setting ourselves up for failure. By February, or even mid-January, we’ve already dropped our resolutions. I know. I’ve done it too. I considered not making any this year. After all, what is so special about January 1st that will help me be more disciplined than any other day?
But here I am with my New Year’s Resolutions in tow, feeling a bit hopeful and a bit like a sucker. A sucker because – yes, you guessed it – I’ve already failed at some of them! I am the cliche. I may have set myself up for failure, but God has been teaching me through my failed resolutions.
This is where He works.
He works with failures. He likes to work with us when we are humbled and on our knees. In fact, he often waits out the ambitious, successful, “I can make it on my own,” January 1st moments in our lives. He does some of His best work when we have failed, when we are broken, humbled and feeling a bit like a sucker. When we have already fallen to our knees and given up on ourselves, that is when we are primed and in position for God to take over and do His stuff.
The Bible is stocked full of these stories. God used Moses, not when he was a young man living in the palace, but after he had murdered, ran away and was no longer in his prime. God used David even after he committed adultery and murder. Jesus told Peter he would use him to build His church, not while walking on the water with him, but after he denied Jesus three times.
So that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Because His power is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Because try as we might to hide it, He actually knows that we aren’t perfect.
Because we were created to need Him. Because like any great Dad, He can help us with that thing we’re trying so hard to do on our own and failing at.
Because He is the God of fresh starts.
We need fresh starts and He is in the business of giving them out. In unlimited quantities! Will we get up and continue on perfectly? Nope. We’ll trip up, and He’ll be right there to pick us up, dust us off and help us persevere. That is what true faith in Him looks like. Our lives are not one neat and clean “Before and After” picture. They are a picture of slow and steady transformation, of continual dependence on Him, of perseverance.
Fresh starts continually remind us of what God’s grace truly looks like. Limitless Grace and Mercy. Mercies that are new every single morning. Before you get out of bed in the morning, His abundance of fresh starts are there for you. No matter what.
Slowly I am being convinced of “how wide and high and deep” His love and grace are for me (Ephesians 3:17-18). So, I will pick up these resolutions, dust them off and continue to persevere… all the while holding the hand of the God of fresh starts.
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.