We are half way through the month of January of this new year. Have we decided to actually MAKE A FRESH START. Let’s take a look at what our Lord says and wrap ourselves around it.
Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ”
How many of you, “would like to have a fresh start in your Christian life? ” Many of us here have made numerous mistakes in our lives as Christians. We have experienced many setbacks and failures throughout our lives. Sometimes we allow these mistakes, these setbacks and failures, to enslave us to the point that we never appreciate the full Christian life that God has given us to enjoy.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Then he goes on to tell us that there is an adversary, that we know as the Devil, that seeks to steal, kill and destroy that life. The Devil does not want us to have a fresh start in life and reminds us of our past to keep us from moving forward..
The good news is, God says, “ I want you to have a fresh start in life, I want you to have a new beginning, I want to do something new in your life.” So, aren’t you glad that God wants to do something new in your life? Isn’t it exciting to know that God’s desire is to give you a fresh start, a new beginning in life. What all of us here need today is a Fresh Start, a New Beginning with God. Last year some of you said, “ I am going to grow in my relationship with God. I am going to pray more, read my Bible more and get more involved in my church. I’m going to spend more quality time with my family. ” The list could go on and on. The fact is all of us here made some mistakes or we made some bad decision that held us back from doing those things that we wanted to do.
Well today the good news is – according to Isaiah 43:18 “The Lord says, `Forget about what has happened before. Do not think about the past. Instead, look at the new things I’m going to do.” Listen to what God is saying in this verse. Forget about what’s happened before. He says don’t think about the past. It’s over. Let’s close that book.
Let’s focus on the fact that God is much more interested in our future than He is in our past. Many are stuck in their past. God is more interested in your future than He is with your past because the future is where you’re going to spend the rest of your life. He says, “Forget about your past. Forget about the former things. Don’t think about it. Look at the new thing I’m going to do.”
Israel was being punished for their sins and rebellion against God. God wanted to give hope and encouragement to His people. He wanted them to know that even though they were being punished they were not being forsaken. God wanted His people to understand that the punishment that they were experiencing would not be the end of them. The fact is that God wanted to give them a fresh start in life, a new Beginning.
God made a way for them. They could remember that when the enemy was about to overtake them how He provided protection for them. They could remember the former things, but they couldn’t see their future. That is why God said, “I am going to do something new.”
Maybe that is where you are today! You feel that you have made so many mistakes; you have failed God so many times, and you have excused and sinned it all away. We all share guilt. Now, we think, God doesn’t want anything to do with us. We feel and believe that we have no future with God. The good news is, God is saying, “ It’s not over, I have plans for your life. I am about to do something new for you. ”
This morning I want to share with you, “ How To Make a Fresh Start? ”
I want to share with you a formula for starting over. S.T.A.R.T. I hope you’ll remember this and pass it along to friends when they have disappointments and failures. Regardless of what kind of failure you had in the past. – financial, relationships, marriages, moral failure, legal failures, failures in making good decisions…. Regardless of the failure you’ve had in your life, here’s how you start over.
S – Stop making excuses……….. If I want a fresh start in life, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I’ve got to stop blaming other people. I’ve got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances.
Other people can hurt us, other people can harm us, and other people can scar us. But the only person that can ruin your life is you. Nobody can ruin your life without your permission. You DO have a choice and you can choose how you’re going to respond to those hurts. The Bible says that the starting point is to just be honest and accept responsibility for your part in the problem.
Proverbs 28:13 “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confess and forsakes them he gets another chance.” and in Proverbs 20:7 “A sensible man watches for problems and prepares to meet them but the fool never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.”
So “S” in START stands for Stop making excuses.
T – Take An Inventory Of My Life………. I need to take an inventory of my life. That means I need to evaluate all my experiences. I need to look at what I have left after the failure. I need to take an inventory of my life’s experiences and learn from them.
Galatians 3:4 “You have experienced many things. Were all those experiences wasted? I hope not.”
Learn from your mistakes. Failure can be your friend or your foe. You determine if failure will be your friend or foe by the way you react to it. You can choose to learn from it or choose to repeat it. If you learn from it then it can be your friend. However, if you don’t learn from it is your foe.
A – Act in faith………. This is the third step in getting a fresh start. Act in faith. You have to launch out into new territory. The Bible says that the key to changing anything is faith. If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith. If you want to change your personality, it takes faith. If you want to change anything in your life, you have to have some faith. Jesus says this in Matthew 9. “According to your faith it will be done to you. ” That is a very simple statement but it’s very powerful. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” That means we tend to get out of life what we expect.
What are you expecting in life? Are things going to be better or worse? Are they going to be the same? If you act in faith, then you will do something positive to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes over.
Acts 3:1-5 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.”
This man asked for something and expected to get it, but in reality he got more than he expected. The point that I want to make is that this lame man acted in faith and was greatly rewarded. Many times we ask for something and expect to get nothing and we get exactly what we expected, nothing.
R – Refocus………. I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life. If I want to get going again, if I want a fresh start, I need to rethink the way I think. I need to change my mind about many issues.
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 want to change your actions, just change the way you think, and it will inevitably change the way you act. If you are depressed, discouraged and distressed, it may be because you’re thinking depressed, discouraged and distressing thoughts. That’s your choice. You don’t have to think those thoughts. If you’re acting in fearful, worried ways, it’s because you’re thinking fearful, worried thoughts.
Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. ” That’s where the change takes place. That’s the power to start over.
T – Trust………. Trust God to help us succeed. Depend on Him. We can’t depend on ourselves. We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’ve failed. 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. You try it again and Bang! Again. You keep doing it thinking, “Maybe it will fall over this time.” That’s the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results. If we keep doing the same thing then we will keep getting the same result. We can’t change who we are, only God can do that. I am not speaking about the outward man but the inner man. The real person is the hidden person of the heart. Success in the Christian life is not trying harder, but living smarter, giving God control of our life.
Zechariah 4:6 “ You will not succeed by your own strength or power but by My Spirit, says the Lord. ”
“When someone becomes a Christian, They become a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” God specializes in new beginnings. Jesus Christ has the power to do that. It’s called being born again, the chance to start over. We can have a fresh start with a new life as we continue through this New Year. God says, “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 I have a fresh start? I can have a fresh start by:
• Stop making excuse
• Take an inventory of my life
• Act in faith
•Refocus my thoughts
• Trust God
Try beginning this new year with a fresh start. God will help you through the rough times and you will be renewed and refreshed daily.