Remember, Renew, Reflect, Restore
Forward thinking is part of any New Year’s celebration. The resolutions we make are evidence that we are concerned about how we will change or if we will change at all. Certainly, we want to sing “new song” (Psalm 96:1; 09:1). And we are promised a “renewed mind” (Romans 12:2) if we keep from conforming to the world’s way of doing and thinking. We may succeed or fail in trying to get a new body. We are promised one in the future (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). But, that does not deter our efforts to at least improve the one we have. As Christians, we are not strangers to being made new or seeking the new (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have the ability to put off the old and put on the new by the Lord’s help (Colossians 3:9-10).
The often neglected part of any new year’s celebration is the part that helps us understand our trajectory as we move into the “new” future. Do we remember how we got here? Are we aware of small kindnesses that have been offered to us? Can we remember the ways in which God has worked? How has the difficulty of the past shaped our lives? A key element to moving forward is looking back. The only way to know what needs to be undone or done more is to understand what has happened.
Perhaps that is why the word “remember” emerges more than 260 times in the Bible, more than any forward thinking or future assessing word. We are only able to look successfully forward if we know how to look back. If we forget the shaping decisions or actions, the forgiveness and grace, or the lapses in discipline; then we are likely going to undervalue the good and repeat the bad.
So, as you look to the new year, take a little time to review your journey. In fact, now is a good time to thank those who have helped you along the way. It is also a time to seek forgiveness and help to overcome those past struggles that have impeded your progress. Prayer itself is generally filled with past and future. We pray over our past and for our future. So, the new year thoughts should be the same. God wants to do a “new thing” in you. A good starting point is to see where he has already been working and where he wants to take you.