“If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come.” (Job 14.14, ESV)
Does New Year’s Day bring an opportunity for renewal or the continuation of struggles and misery?
Believe it or not, many people are not excited that today is the last day of another year. There are those who wish they could have a little more time to accomplish some of their “resolutions.” For others, it is just that they have no hope that a new year will bring any significant changes. People are miserable. At times they even despair, struggling to know the will of God for their lives.
Job had been through the wringer. First he lost his livestock and servants. Then his children were murdered. Though it was not the final loss for Job, we are told that Satan “struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2.7). Even his “friends” would make false accusations, based on faulty theology. They knew that he had to have some grievous sin that needed to be confessed. If not, he would still be living the ‘blessed’ life. Yet Job remained hopeful.
One of my favorite passages is Romans 12.1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (ESV).
Here we find “hope” for the New Year. We can be transformed! In fact, we are even told how it can take place. True transformation comes “by the renewal of your mind.” It is not about what we may feel or think. Feelings can be fickle and thoughts can be deceptive. Renewing our minds means that we need to be students who are willing to allow God’s Word to transform us. We can know “the will of God,” but only when we are willing to invest the time and energy to internalize the message. This is the image of Ezekiel 3.1 and Revelation 10.9-10 – we need to be devouring the message (“eat this scroll”).
My resolution? To seek renewal… to seek transformation… to take this opportunity of a New Year to start over by means of devouring God’s Word