Listen to this devotional
When I was younger, I loved playing all kinds of video games with my friends.
But I was a sore loser whenever things didn’t go my way. If I was losing badly, I would often get up out of my seat, walk towards the console and press the reset button.
I didn’t believe I could win when I was already falling behind, and I thought a fresh start was my best option. Even though I was being a sore loser, and there were better ways to handle my emotions, the desire to “press the reset button” when things aren’t going well is something I think we can all relate to.
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”Acts 5:20 NIV
Although life doesn’t have a reset button, when we learn to build a real relationship with God, he gives us the opportunity to have a fresh start.
That is what this scripture talks about when it mentions this “new life.” As we’ll see in the Scriptures below, God can help us to not only start over but to grow and change each day.
The call to a new life
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.Romans 6:4 NIV
Jesus came into this world to allow us to live a new life. This promise to a new life isn’t just a one time deal after baptism: it’s for the rest of our existence. In the words of Lauryn Hill, “Every day’s another chance to get it right this time.” God also gives us a lifelong opportunity to start over every day.
However, after facing several failures and disappointments, I can see my faith dwindle in this hope for a new life and then settle for an ordinary one. This article is challenging yet refreshing for me to write because it makes me have to come to grips with my resistance to change and refocuses me on the quest to reclaim God’s vision for a new life.
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your inner self-your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Matthew 4:17 AMP
The word “repentance” can lose its power if we don’t fight to understand its true Biblical definition.
As this passage teaches us, repentance is about truly changing our inner self (the way we think, our desires, and why we do what we do) and turning to God to live our lives in a way that seeks God’s purpose. When Jesus first started on His mission to inspire people to change and find this new life, he showed them the pathway to do so: repentance.
Throughout this article, we will identify if we truly want to change and explore God’s pathway for living a new life.
Do I want to change?
One of the things that can affect my marriage the most is my empty promises.
There are times I tell my wife I’m going to change my despondent attitude and I do for a short time, but I then turn back to a negative attitude because I don’t deal with my “inner self.” I have said I am going to change but have quickly reverted back because I was looking for instant relief and to get out of the foreseeable conflict.
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.
Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.Matthew 21:28-31 NRSV
In this passage, there are two sons that are asked by their father to complete a task. They have two different responses – one refuses to do what his father asked of him, while the other seems to be willing to do the work but shows us through his actions that his words are not genuine.
Only one son in this passage changed, and he was able to do this after being honest about his resistance to doing what his father wanted him to. Before making a change, we must first identify and admit if we are resistant to the change.
Our resistance can come out in different ways. We can either refuse flat out to do what we are being asked to do. Or we can only do part of the work necessary to change.
These “false faces of change” are:
- We change our behavior but not our heart (Matthew 23:26 AMP).
- We worry about changing but don’t actually change (Luke 12:26 Voice).
- We talk about change but never actually do the work to change (Matthew 3:8 NCV).
- We rely on our past reputation or accomplishments to not have to change (Rev 3:1-3 NLT).
At some point, we all have to decide if we are going to become different or remain the same. Changing starts with us making the choice that we want to be different.
[…] But if you don’t decide now to change your lives, you will all be destroyed like those people!Luke 13:3 ERV
As this scripture teaches us, choosing not to change has destructive consequences. I remember a time when I had to face the destructive impact on my relationships that my decision not to change was having.
I was sitting down with my wife and friends who were in tears about how my callousness and lack of love had impacted them.
The truth is, at that moment I felt nothing. I had dug my heels so deep in the ground that I was determined not to have to face the consequences of my sins. With the help of prayer, reading scriptures, and more spiritual conversations, I was able to take responsibility for my decisions and the pain they caused so I could start to change.
- What is making you resistant to change?
- Which “false faces of change” can you hide behind?
- What pain does your resistance to changing produce in yourself and the ones you love?
- Be honest with God and friends about the areas of your life you are unwilling to change and take responsibility for the impact your choices are having on people around you.
- Study out Scriptures that will help you to take on those specific areas you need to change. Take action to obey the Scriptures you read.
Reclaiming vision for a new life
The excitement in building a relationship with God is believing that we can reclaim our vision to build a new life. The following story in Luke 18 illustrates this perfectly.
As Jesus and his followers arrived at Jericho, there was a blind beggar sitting on the roadside.Luke 18:35 TPT
In this passage, we learn about a blind man, who was sitting on the side of the road. He didn’t have his physical sight. While we may be able to physically see, various things can make us lose our spiritual vision.
I have found 3 things in my life that make me lose my vision:
- Discouragement from undealt with pain (Exodus 6:6-9 NLT)
- Defeat from unopenness about sin (Jeremiah 23:12)
- Distraction from not being focused on God’s purpose (Proverbs 4:25 TPT)
Whether we are in need of vision for the first time in our lives or want to reclaim vision we have lost, we can all learn from this man and his interaction with Jesus.
Humility to ask
 When he heard the crowd approaching, he asked, “What’s all this commotion about?”  “It’s Jesus!” they said. “Jesus the Nazarene is passing by.”  The blind beggar shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity and show me mercy!”Luke 18:36-38 TPT
Because he lacked the ability to see, the man asked those around him for help in knowing what was going on. They were able to tell him that Jesus was passing by.
I didn’t grow up going to church or believing in God. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I chose to start studying the Bible with some friends and read the Scriptures for the very first time. I was shocked when I realized that the Bible was so different than what I had anticipated.
I expected a book about rules, punishment, and unbelievable stories but discovered God’s Word. It taught me that he was pursuing me all along and wanted to build a relationship with me.
I remember being so intrigued, curious and, in part, confused about certain things in the Bible. Whenever I would meet up with my friends who were teaching me the Scriptures, we would spend the first part of the study answering questions I had about God and the Bible. For every question I asked, they had a scripture to answer. I had the humility to ask because I was eager to learn.
We will be limited in our ability to grow in our walk with God unless we choose to have the humility to build spiritual friendships that will guide us through the Scriptures and God’s expectation and vision for our lives.
Faith to persevere
Those who were in the front of the crowd scolded him and warned him to be quiet. But the blind beggar screamed out even louder, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!”
Suddenly Jesus stopped. He told those nearby, “Bring the man over to me.” When they brought him before Jesus, he asked the man, “What is it you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “please, I want to see again.”Luke 18:39-41 TPT
Even when he was faced with opposition, the man chose to persevere. He believed that Jesus had the power to give him back something that no other human being could: his vision.
This man said “… please, I want to see again,” which helps us to understand that he used to have vision, but something made him lose it along the way. He was now seeing that the pathway to getting his vision back was Jesus. Similarly, we too can find our vision again if we fight to approach God with humility and faith.
Watch God move
 Jesus said, “Now you will see. Receive your sight this moment. For your faith in me has given you sight and new life.”  Instantly he could see again. His eyes popped opened, and he saw Jesus. He shouted loud praises to God and he followed Jesus. And when the crowd saw what happened, they too erupted with shouts of praise to God.Luke 18:42-43 TPT
This man’s decision to have the humility to ask and the faith to persevere allowed God to move so that he could get his sight back. Along with his renewed vision, he also was given the gift of a new life, one with new opportunities and possibilities.
Whether we choose to build a relationship with God for the first time or turn back to him after having drifted away, repentance helps us grasp the lifelong opportunity to start over. When others around Jesus saw what he did for the blind man, they too were able to see God working.
When we live a life of change where we see God move in our lives, we can inspire others to see him differently. Our transformation will give others hope that God can move in their lives just like he’s moving in ours.
- Who can you ask to help you grow in your walk with God?
- What distractions will you have to ignore in your quest for a new life?
- How can you keep persevering when you are faced with obstacles?
- How will regaining your vision allow you to inspire others to regain theirs?
- Ask spiritual friends to help you in your quest for change.
- Choose to share your journey of change with others to inspire them to see God differently.