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The start of a new year has often signified a time for new beginnings. We expect to transition from what has been to what should be. In contrast, God has never needed the start of a new year to inspire change. For each breath that we take… and every morning that we rise, we are blessed with the opportunity to make adjustments to our journey. Our beginnings don’t determine our endings. With God, we can find new direction, think new thoughts, have deeper faith, realize new purpose, acquire deeper perseverance, and feel new passion. With God, we can experience lasting change.
Backwards & Forwards
Yet, no matter how hard we try, sometimes we go backwards to go forward, to go back even further. Missteps outweigh progress and we begin to doubt our ability to change character and circumstance. Don’t let the bad days cloud your thinking. Remember, it’s God who brings us forward. We must not lose site of the good He’s already done in our lives. Instead, we must hold onto His promises, knowing that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God’s love protects us. His love defends us. We are His children. In Him, we can find safety.
An Apostle’s Experience with Doubt
When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he wasn’t sure if who or what he saw was really Jesus. Peter had doubts. So, Peter called out, asking Jesus to command him to walk on water too, so that Peter would know this man was Jesus. Jesus, willing to calm his fears and show Himself as the Son of God, called out to Peter. In an act of faith, Peter stepped out and started to walk on water towards Jesus.
As Peter was walking on water, the winds began to pick up. Peter became afraid. His fear led to doubt – could Jesus keep him from sinking in this type of weather? In his fear, Peter incorrectly placed limits on the power of Jesus. He was focused on the wind, and not on the One who could control the wind. Peter’s lack of faith led to exactly what he became afraid of – sinking. As he started to become submerged, Peter cried out to Jesus, and Jesus reached out to save Peter, but not without chastising him – “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
It’s not the initial fear that stunts are growth. Jesus is willing to meet us on the bridge to remove the doubt in our hearts. Nevertheless, when God reveals himself to us, we must believe in His power and stay focused. We cannot go on God’s journey, watch Him part the seas, and then when trials come, ask if we’re supposed to cross. In those instances, doubt has won. Instead, find power in standing firm in the wind. Pray for the type of faith that allows us to know that with God, we cannot sink. With love, He stretches out His hand towards us, asking that in faith, we do the same.
New Beginnings in Christ
No matter the span of time, the doubt from our past, the mistakes that we’ve made, we must keep trying. No matter the emotions, keep praying. Talk to God in the heat of a moment and in the midst of the calm. Keep fighting for what is good and what is pure. The world may define you by a moment, but the world is not God, and God is definitely not the world.
Instead, God asks to “strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” With God, we can touch higher heights and find deeper faith. We can take on change because we know His love protects us. His care engulfs us. With God, we can walk on water – the storms cannot stop us. We can be healed. We are not stuck by who we’ve been. With God, we can find new beginnings.
We need to understand, however, that beginnings also indicate endings. Spiritual growth changes our surroundings. It changes our relationships. It changes the way we view the world and the way the world views us. Do not fear what will be modified or lost. Even if the world thinks we’re losing, in Him, we win. Sin no longer controls us. So each morning, take advantage of a new day. Focus your heart on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure”. Move from a state of murmuring to a state of gratitude. Be confident in your faith. Growth is within reach.
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