(“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul.”
A new soul. I like the sound of that, don’t you? In my imagination I see a freshening of my attitudes, improved motivations, and increased spiritual strength.
But where do I start in order to achieve a new soul?
No doubt, a new soul begins with repentance—expressing to God my sorrow for wrongdoing and availing myself of his help to change. Just as King David prayed, I can ask God to:
(“Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
–Psalm 51:10, emphasis added)
Notice that David asked God to create in him a pure heart. David didn’t promise to clean up his act on his own. Only God could make David’s heart new and pure. The same goes for me. All I can do is submit myself to his transforming power and follow his lead.
That pure heart David asked for is a clear conscience. And with the release from guilt came a rush of joy and the restoration of sweet peace with God. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
“No one is happier than the one who has repented of wrong” (Max Lucado).
A new soul involves renewal of the mind.
Or, put another way:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Romans 12:2, NLT (emphasis added)
Once the negative influences of sin have been removed, I need to fill my mind with excellent, praiseworthy contemplations.
Why waste my thoughts and allow them to wander on worthless topics or circle around pointless worries? Instead, I want to set my mind on the positive, especially on God himself.
A renewed mind is not problem-focused; it is Person-focused.
A new soul requires day-by-day rejuvenation.
“We do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
–2 Corinthians 4:16 (emphasis added)
God has established certain laws by which our world is governed. Gravity is one example. The law of entropy is another. It states that all elements of the universe tend to disintegrate over time. Plants and animals die and decay, iron rusts, rock erodes.
Our souls tend to disintegrate over time, too, when left unattended:
- Worry and fear wreak havoc.
- Self-centeredness creates an appetite for entertainment, possessions, and recognition—appetites that are never satiated.
- Foolishness reigns because wisdom is ignored.
- Rationalizations replace honest evaluations.
- Uncontrolled behaviors harm relationships.
But when we avail ourselves of God’s influence day-by-day and step-by-step, the law of entropy has no effect on our souls.
The Amplified Version expands the meaning:
“The steps of a [good and righteous] man
are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way
[and blesses his path].”
–Psalm 37:23, AMP
Consider the import of these key words:
Steps – Even spiritual achievement rarely happens in an instant. God values slow and steady progress.
Directed – He isn’t just interested in the details of our lives; he’s lovingly engineering them.
Established – There is always design and strategy in God’s endeavors, even if we only occasionally perceive it.
Delights – God is pleased with those who follow the path he has thoughtfully and wisely set.
Blesses – God lovingly bestows such gifts as peace, joy, hope, satisfaction, and purposeful living.
* * * * * * * * * *
Holy Creator of new souls, as I stand on the brink of a new year, I do confess my failings to you. Purify my heart; show me how to refine even the motivations behind my right actions. Thank you for your gentle nudges to turn my mind toward you, and your loving attention upon every step of my life. I praise you that continual contact with you results in a soul–a life–that is continually refreshed and made new!