Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Have you thought to yourself, I would love to make a fresh start in my life? I’m sure we have made many mistakes. We have experienced many setbacks and failures throughout our lives.
Sometimes we allow these mistakes, setbacks and failures to enslave us to the point that life becomes difficult and we say, Surely there must be more than this. I’m not happy—can God help me? The answer to that question is, Yes, he can.
In John 10:10 (CEV) Jesus said, “I came so everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest”. 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. Aren’t you glad that God wants to do something new in your life? Doesn’t it make you excited to know that God wants to give you a fresh start, a new beginning in life.
We read in Isaiah 43:18-19, “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. The book’s closed on it.
I think we need to understand that God is far more interested in our future than he is in our past. Some people think that God is stuck on their past. That all he wants to do is remind them of the things that they have done wrong. 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.” Have you ever thought about God and his plan for you?
Isaiah was a prophet when those verses were written in chapter 43, and 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 to give them a fresh start in life, a new beginning in life. They could remember when they were trapped by the Red Sea and had nowhere to go, how God made a way 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.”
You could well feel that you have made so many mistakes, that you have failed God so many times, and that he doesn’t want anything to do with you. You feel and believe that you 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.
I have a few ideas that may help, and it’s a formula using the word (mnemonic) START. I hope you’ll remember this and pass it along to your friends when they have failures. Regardless of what kind of failure you had in the past. You may have had a financial failure, or maybe a relational failure, a failure in your marriage. You may have had a moral failure, or made some decisions you’re so ashamed of and hope nobody ever finds out about. 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, 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 have a choice and that is that 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 (TLB) says: “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them he gets another chance.” He gets a fresh start. The starting point to starting over is to be honest and face up to the problems, that most of the problems in my life, most of the failures, are my fault.
(To be continued in How to Make a Fresh Start – Part 2)