“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Ever had one of those dark, frustrating days, when nothing goes right, and you dwell on times past, and end up thinking “I wish I could just start all over again!”
Sure you have. We all have. The human spirit, while indomitable in many ways, is still very prone to questioning itself.
These thoughts often lead to pondering a “restart,” and how it could supposedly make everything better. Wipe the slate clean. Begin again, fresh and new.
It’s not hard to understand. We are all sinful, broken creatures. Every day we fail to meet expectations, whether others’, our own, or God’s. Fortunately, we know at least one of the three will forgive us.
So how do we get better? How do we “fix” ourselves, if such a thing is possible?
The “self-help” industry has thrived on this for decades. Every year, tens of thousands of books are sold, all supposedly holding the secrets to a better life. Motivational speakers criss-cross the U.S. offering their take. And, of course, the business of psychology and mental health has never been stronger.
Is it a matter of heart?
Listen to music, or read poetry, and you’ll be told the answer lies “in your heart.” Yes, it’s all inside. You just need to know where to look, or how deep to dig. If it’s not in one place, try another. If it’s still not obvious, well, then something’s just wrong with you.
Is this approach misguided? Yes, according to Scripture. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Wow! Clearly the wrong place to be searching!
To reinforce, paraphrasing Mark 7:21, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts …”
So where do we find the solution to living better lives, and being better people, and making things better for our fellow man? Consider Ephesians 5:1: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”
We, as humans, often obsess over how others perceive us. We struggle with how we view ourselves. We try to decide who we really want to be. Meanwhile, we keep all those self-help authors, and speakers, and consultants, and a lot of others, in business.
A change of perspective
Let’s reverse the perspective. Instead of looking in, try looking out. Take the spotlight off yourself. If you’re a believer, focus it on God, and his son Jesus, and all His wondrous teachings and guidance about how we can live lives fulfilled in so many ways.
In other words: Show the world Whose you are, rather than who you are.
Don’t make a show of your accomplishments. Rather, promote what God has done through you.
Don’t brag about the people you know, or who report to you. Instead, make clear Who you serve.
Ask God for more strength, not less burden. Pray to be more like Jesus, and less like ourselves.
Be the “new creation” that Paul wrote about to the Corinthians. Cast aside the old version of who you were, for a new, far better model designed by God.
The great thing is, it’s never too late. Every day is a new opportunity to become a new person in Christ. It costs nothing. Yet the return on your devotion, and time, and changed focus, is incalculable.
It’s a restart, all right – one that will leave you at peace, yet energized and excited to have others see Christ in you.
Think of the money you’ll save on self-help seminars, and the shelf space you’ll have from clearing out all those books. You have much better things to focus on now.
(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Participate in a virtual prayer session to ask God to be with those who have submitted requests. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)