I love new beginnings. They are a chance to start over, begin afresh, or head in a new direction. The start of a new year is just the new beginning many of us need. Perhaps that’s why we make New Year’s resolutions, because we need a fresh start, a renewed effort in building some part of our lives. 

Maybe this year your resolutions have something to do with who you need to be for others in your home. For example, you may know that being more sacrificial with your time is just what your stepchildren need, or that finding a way to live with your child’s lack of acceptance of your family is important to your ability to remain committed to your spouse. Yet you also know that actually living out these truths is harder than just admitting them. If so, keep reading about God’s plan to transform how you love and who you are to others. In Christ, all things are made new. The One who made the heavens and earth, the One who was raised from the dead, the One who gives life and hope to the fallen, is the same One who takes our selfish brokenness and transforms it into a sweet gift of sacrifice. 

The War Inside

Transformation begins with admission that a war between my selfish desires and God’s will for my life is taking place within me—and that by myself, I cannot over come it. In Romans 7:15-19 NIV), the apostle Paul admits to such a war even in himself.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire 5to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

When I admit that the war exists and call upon God to provide the transformation I need, his Spirit joins mine in bringing about new beginnings. Paul goes on to say in chapter Romans 7:24-25  “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He then specifically identifies the Holy Spirit as the one who helps me to gain momentum over the evil desires of the flesh. 

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace…” (Romans 8:5-6 NIV)

When I submit my will to His, the Spirit of God partners with my desire to become transformed and facilitates the process toward life and peace.  

Set Your Mind

Once I have admitted to my need and submitted my will, I must focus my mind on “what the Spirit desires.”  And what does it desire? Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things from above, not on earthly things. I remember in elementary school entering the lunch-room and seeing posters that encouraged us to eat good foods. “Garbage in, garbage out” the posters read. In a similar manner, God wants us to have a daily diet of things “from above.” After all, said Jesus, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (ref. Proverbs 23:7). 

So what should we think about? According to Philippians 4:8-9 we should think on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. This world wants to pull our minds in many directions, but only God’s word brings us back to what is true and praiseworthy. If you want a new beginning, make sure your thoughts surround these things.