“As we turn over our new leaf this year [and make New Year’s resolutions], we can turn to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Late one spring I walked through a gorgeous garden filled with beautiful flowers—Double Knock-Out roses, Gerber daisies, Stella d’Oroday lilies, and tropical ruffled hibiscus. One flower bed, with its fragrant flowers in full bloom, was edged with large, round river stones. One whimsically-decorated stone had words painted on it—“Please turn me over.” Being the kindhearted and inquisitive man I am, I bent down and turned it over. The other side read, “Ah, thank you! Now, please turn me back over.” Some people are never satisfied.
New Year’s Resolutions
On New Year’s Day, when making New Year’s resolutions, some folks, instead of a stone, like to “turn over a new leaf.” The problem is, often they don’t know what leaf to turn, or how many times to turn it. They don’t know how to improve themselves. They don’t know what part of their situation to improve. They only know something needs to improve.God has given believers several wonderful gifts to help us reach that renewed image. He has given us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Click To Tweet
When making our yearly resolutions, we will hear many voices. If we listen to our doctor, we attempt to lower our blood pressure, lower our blood sugar, lower our carbs and caloric intake, and increase our metabolic rate. If we listen to our nutritionist, we try to eat healthy and organic, no white sugar and no white flour, and absolutely nothing fried. If we listen to our mental therapist, we try to think positive and center our thoughts as we practice mindfulness.
If we listen to our physical therapist, we try to walk further each day and stretch before we run. If we listen to our professor, we work toward reading and researching more. If we listen to our life coach, we strive to accomplish more in spite of our growing number of distractions. If we listen to our boss, we plan to go to work earlier and stay later. If we listen to our family, we work to provide for them but engage in more family time at the same time.
How do we know what leaf to turn over? How do we make a change for the better? What should be our goal? How do we know what is an improvement? Human beings were made in God’s image. Adam and Eve’s fall marred that perfect image. Turning over a new leaf was not sufficient, and neither was wearing a fig leaf. Through the shedding of blood God provided a coat of animal skins to cover their marred image. The seed of the woman in the future would bruise the head of Satan.
Made New in God’s Image
Through the death, burial, and resurrection of Eve’s seed, Jesus Christ, we can be made anew in His image.
Our old broken and misshapen ways can be renewed, and we can be made new again.
Our old broken and misshapen ways can be renewed, and we can be made new again. God has given believers several wonderful gifts to help us reach that renewed image. He has given us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–13). We can know how to make the change for the better, living in the restored image of Jesus Christ. God’s gifts help us to know.
Paul gave us hope when he instructed, “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). We can put off the old man and, by God’s grace, put on the new man.
The psalmist David wrote encouraging words to the individual struggling to find the better way: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). The Lord will help us find the path to newness, restoration, and redemption. The gospel is more than just four books in a compilation of sixty-six other books; it is good news for all of humanity. We do not have to stay in a fallen state, we can arise. “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me” (Micah 7:8).
The song lyrics say it well: “To be like Jesus, on earth I long to be like Him.” As we turn over our new leaf this year, we can turn to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
(A version of this content originally appeared in Pentecostal Life. To see more content or subscribe, visit Pentecostal Life.)
Resources and Links
Anthony Mangun’s Prayer Book – Following the pattern of the Old Testament Tabernacle, this trusted Apostolic leader provides a seminal resource on prayer.