COLUMN: A new day

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By Jon Rohr

Happy New Year! Another fresh new page turned on the calendar. Welcome to 2014.
Some of us will vow to get more organized, some will vow to relax a little, and most of us will be looking to shed a few pounds. Right now, or more probably tomorrow, gyms and diet centers will be full. With the beginning of a new year comes the hope that we can somehow remake ourselves.
With focused intensity we attack those New Year’s resolutions. And it seems that every year we have at least a couple of things we want to work on. Have you noticed that from year to year they often seem to be the same things? And every year we say to ourselves, “This year I really mean it!” And I think we probably do mean it, but change is hard.
I have 54 years of bad habits to overcome and cheeseburgers are big habit for me. Turning in a Rally burger for a salad is tough. And let’s face it; sometimes driving past a steakhouse while you are dieting can be a real trial.
When we make those New Year’s resolutions we are confessing that there are things in our lives we need to change. The problem is that real change has to come from within. External changes are like painting over a rust spot on your car. The rust is still there and it is eating away under the new paint. It won’t take long until the rust peeks through again. Real change means digging out the rust, it means changing things from the inside out.
Maybe that is why the Bible tells us, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). The Lord knows us inside and out, and he knows that we are easily tempted. We may see things we want to change in our lives, but He sees our hearts. He knows what changes that need to happen on the inside in order to see a change on the outside.
Let’s face it, while most of us could stand to lose a few pounds, is that really the most important thing we need to fix? Maybe the problem isn’t that we eat too much, maybe it is that we stress too much. Maybe that is why we call our favorite foods “comfort food.”
Each New Year we feel like we get a fresh start and that is a powerful thing. It gives us the encouragement to try to change. But better than a New Year is the promise of God. David reminds us that, “His compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22–23 NIV). As you start this New Year, start it with the Lord, let his compassion renew you. Begin the New Year with him and you will be amazed at the blessings he will send your way.