A Fresh Start

Steve Sabol

January 4, 2021

So, 2020 has ended, and many are saying, “Hallelujah!” To grossly understate it, 2020 was an interesting year. But as I launch into a new year, this passage of Scripture comes to mind…

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NCV), The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.”

I think a worthy goal for the new year would be to have a fresh start in our Christian life. Many of us made mistakes, experienced setbacks and failures throughout the past year. Sometimes we allow these things to enslave us to the point that we never enjoy the life that God has given us to enjoy. I mean the “more abundant” kind of life that Jesus promises in John 10:10. Let us all go for a fresh start, a new beginning with God in 2021.

God is far more interested in our future than He is in our past. The future is where we’re going to spend the rest of our life, so God says, “Forget about your past. Forget about the former things. Look at the new thing I’m going to do.” Let’s talk about how to make a fresh S.T.A.R.T.

Stop making excuses.

We have to stop making excuses and blaming other people and circumstances. We need to stop seeing ourselves as victims of our circumstances. Life and other people can hurt us, harm us, and scar us. But the only person that can ruin your life is you. 

Take an inventory of your life.

We need to evaluate all our experiences and look at what we have left after 2020. The apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:4, “You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not.” Let’s learn from our mistakes and misfortunes. Failure can be our friend or our foe. We determine if it will be our friend or foe by the way we react to it. When we fail to learn from it, we are choosing to repeat it.

Act in faith.

We have to launch out into new territory. If we want to change our circumstances, it takes faith. Jesus said, “According to your faith it will be done to you” (Matthew 9:29). That is a very simple statement, but it is nonetheless very powerful. We tend to get out of life what we expect out of life. What are you expecting in life? Are things going to be better or worse in 2021? Are they going to be the same?

Refocus.

We need to rethink the way that we think. We need to change our minds about a number of issues. The wise man Solomon said in Proverbs 4:23, “Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.” The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you are depressed, discouraged and distressed, it may be because you’re thinking depressing, discouraging and distressing thoughts. It’s a choice. We don’t have to think those thoughts. To get a fresh start, we have to stop thinking in the same old patterns. Which memories are you still rehearsing that keep you from having a fresh start in life? The Bible says to let them go. 

Trust.

In 2021, let’s trust God to help us succeed. Let’s depend on Him. We don’t need to depend on ourselves. We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. Some people just don’t get it. They stumble and fall and then they get up and say, “I’ll just try harder!” It’s like you go up to a wall and bang your head against it and the wall doesn’t fall down. So, you try it again and, Bang! One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If we keep doing the same thing then we will keep getting the same result.

In 2021 I am more determined than ever to live in, by and through the power of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Zechariah’s words in chapter four verse six have been meaningful to me since the beginning of my 45-year journey as a Christ-follower: “You will not succeed by your own strength or power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”

God specializes in new beginnings. As we begin the new year 2021, God is saying to us, “I don’t want you to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to give you a whole new life.” Will you have a fresh start in life? Will you have a new beginning? It’s your choice. How can you have a fresh start? Let’s review:

Stop making excuses.

Take an inventory of your life.

Act in faith.

Refocus your thoughts.

Trust God.

If you’re not dead, God’s not done. Greater things are still to come!

About the Author: Steve Sabol

"Steve Sabol was born October 3rd, 1950 in Bristol, PA. He married Nancy Keller, the love of his life on July 12th, 1969. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2019. They have a son and a daughter, five granddaughters, and five great-grandchildren. Steve entered full-time pastoral ministry in August of 1980. He’s been a shepherd for over forty years. He moved to Lebanon thirty years ago and today serves as one of Lifeway Church’s community pastors. Steve has been a musician for over fifty years and his favorite instrument is the guitar. Ministering to men in prisons, churches, rescue missions and community centers has been a passion of Steve’s for over 12 years. He has spoken at over thirty men’s events across the country and sends out a daily inspirational email to over 6,000 men every day. He is currently writing a book titled “Connected” which should be available in the summer of 2020. Steve loves spending time with his bride, and staying busy for the King, changing the world one man at a time."

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