New Year, New You? It’s More Than That

by | Jan 2, 2021 | Coaching, Devotional, Featured, Life Coaching, Practical Discipleship, Spirituality, Theology

2021 has already been good to us. New Year’s Eve was on a Thursday which for many people meant an early release from work. New Years Day was on a Friday which for many also meant a 3 day weekend. In essence, 2021 gave us the ability to recoup from that year which we will not name. 

The underlying problem with this “New Year” phenomenon is that while there is a sense of hope for a new beginning, it’s really just a facade. The problems of any previous year don’t magically disappear or erase. We are not born again to be given a fresh start when the calendar flips. It all comes down to this: are we willing to be disciplined enough to make the necessary changes to my life so that I can be the person I was designed to be? 

Good News! (See what I did there?) Your past year can be totally forgiven. You can legitimately be born again and freed from your old life. But it also requires us to put to death that old life and walk in the new life that we’re offered. I follow Jesus because I’ve seen first hand how He forgives and provides us with a new life of meaning and purpose. Heck, you want a new name? That’s biblical too! Every sin committed. Every mistake made. Gone. Forgiven. 

However, following Jesus isn’t a “say a prayer once and do whatever you want” kind of Christianity it’s been made out to be. We’re told in the bible that following Jesus means dying to ourselves every single day (Luke 9:23). We’re told that it means being disciplined (Galatians 5:18-24). The joy of following Jesus is that it doesn’t matter if it’s January 1 at 00:01 or Tuesday at 11:30. We can choose right then and there to begin our new life and start making healthy choices to bring His light into our world. 

Here are 7 quick biblical ways to start your new life today.

1. Refocus your perspective.

Colossians 3:1-2 says: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Living as a new creation means to also refocus and recalibrate our minds. Romans 12:1-2 says that we need to transform ourselves by the renewing of our minds. This means spending time in prayer and meditation – thinking thoroughly about the goodness and mercy of God and how He expects us to live our lives. Click here for a practical way to do this.

2. Discover meaning and purpose in serving others.

Both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament Scriptures teach us to take care of other people. Jesus, who we believe is God in the flesh says, “I have not come to be served, but to serve.” Paul says in Galatians 5:13: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” So take time this week to serve others. (You can see my devotional practice on how to serve others here).

3. Adjust how you listen/respond to others you disagree with. 

James 1:19 says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Social media has made us believe that we can use our voice to critique and be offended by every single thing we don’t like. This is especially true in election years as we see polarizing propaganda that leads to rallying division. The Bible says we can have self-control and to use our anger for things that truly need to be addressed: injustice, oppression, and giving a voice to those who don’t have one (Leviticus 19:32-34, Proverbs 31:8-9, Isaiah 1:17, Micah 6:8, Zechariah 7:10, Matthew 25, James 2:15-16). There isn’t one person on this planet that believes the same exact way you do. But we can still love, serve, and forgive others. As the Roman soldiers put Jesus on the cross Jesus replied, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Use your new life to forgive, to bless, and to love other people. 

4. Mature in your faith by choosing to be consistent.

On my website here I have 8 devotional practices that will help you take daily steps closer to Jesus. As I said above, Jesus said following him means taking up our cross every day. This means being consistent in our spiritual growth (John 15). Feel free to check them out here. 

5. Intentionally put healthier foods into your body.

1 Corinthians 6 tells us that followers of Jesus have the holy spirit dwelling within us and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. In 2021 we know that filling our bodies with junk lead to all kinds of diseases and health problems. I highly suggest taking the time to determine what healthy foods you like and begin planning out and prepping your weeks. When you follow Jesus you recognize that your body is not your own and that being healthy (and exercising) is important not just for your physical health but also for your spiritual health. 

6. Choose who you allow to influence your life.

We’re constantly warned from Scripture not to allow ungodly or “bad company” to influence us (Psalm 1:1-2, Proverbs 1:10-19, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Galatians 6:6-7). There have been a lot of people saying recently, “Don’t allow negative people to influence your life.” And while those are good on the surface level, we need to also describe what “negative” negative means. Just because someone says something you don’t like doesn’t mean they’re being negative. Sometimes people are speaking the truth to us in love but we can’t hear it because we’re easily offended or angered. Surround yourself with people who will love you enough to be honest with you. See more on my practice Authentic Accountability here. 

7. Invest in self-care practices and take time to rest.

People are probably tired of me talking about how important the Sabbath is and how Jesus never abolished the Sabbath. But it’s true. Our culture is burned out beyond belief because we’re always on and always going. I could probably write an entire book on this issue but I obviously won’t do that here. Just remember: God established the Sabbath for you to enjoy your life. It wasn’t meant to become a religious practice that kept you from doing good it was instituted to provide you with the rest your body needs (Mark 2:23-28, Exodus 20:8-11, Mark 6:31, Psalm 23). 

Conclusion

If you had a bad heart and you needed surgery to receive a new heart, would you keep living the same way? Hopefully, your answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOT! You haven’t just been given a new year in 2021, you’ve been given a new life! Use it to heal and not to harm, to help and not to hinder, to bless and not to curse, and to know our God of freedom (taken from the Passover Seder). 

Maranatha // מרנאתא

-Justin

Join me as we read and pray through 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 and meditate on what it means to be a new creation.

Want to grow spiritually in 2021? Grab my free PDF guide with practical biblical practices to get you started!

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About The Author

Justin Boothby is a lifelong student who loves to travel, film, write, design websites, and life coach. Most importantly he loves to Pastor in all different kinds of ministry settings. He’s also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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Leave A Comment

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this article! Please remember to be kind and respectful. If you didn't like something, I always welcome constructive criticism. However, any form of hatred, bullying, or racism will not be tolerated.

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This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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About The Author

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context.

M.A. Hebrew University of Jerusalem
M.Div. Regent University
B.S. Southeastern University

About Justin

Justin is a lifelong student who loves to speak, travel, film, write, and coach. He has a goal of empowering others to grow closer to Jesus in practical and unique ways. After acquiring two degrees in Practical Theology and then studying in Israel for two years, Justin has a passion to help people read the Bible with a deeper appreciation in its original, ancient context. He would not be where he is today without his incredible wife, Lauren! While he's a pastor at heart, he's also an avid pizza lover, metalcore listener, and shot glass collector.

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