Start All Over

As the new year began, there were some who believed they could start all over, and no sign of the past would interrupt the present joys they had already begun to experience in the new year. Where do we get the idea we can leave garbage out and it never smell? Does it vanish? Will we and others get used to the smell and the sight of the trash? Does debt go away? Does the impact of lies disappear like a vapor? Has the “new you” just become your adoption of what you became as last year ended without any desire on your part to repent and live righteously?

Colossians 3:5-15 provides a great description of what it means to start all over. The first initiative is “Put away.” It does not matter what it is. Just put it away. All of it is earthly, sensual, devilish. They are signs of disobedience. If the “new you” is to ever appear, it cannot hide behind “evil desire,” “shameful speaking out your mouth,” and “covetousness.” We cannot think keeping any portion of these attitudes and actions will help our efforts to improve. Holding onto them only increases our chances of coming back to them at a later time (2 Peter 2:20-22). We have to put all of these away, especially if we are going to talk about going to heaven where “there shall in no wise enter into it anything unclean, or he that maketh an abomination and a lie...” (Revelation 21:27).

Starting over needs everlasting, divine assistance from God. “Will power” will not force these attitudes and actions away. Our past history of “resiliency under adversity” is not the key. It is “being renewed unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Colossians 3:10). Christ is the One who redeems us and removes the “old man,” allowing us to start over.

As Christ begins His work, He petitions us to “put on” attitudes and actions different than what we had on with the old man. We replace lying with truth. We replace anger with love, patience, and forgiving one another. We replace uncleanness with holiness, gentleness, and kindness. This is what the “new you” should look like. This is starting over. One reason this “new man” is so significant is because this “new man” is placed in “one body” (v. 15) among others who have experienced the same transformation. How then do you suppose this “one body,” the church, will function properly if we do not put off that “old man” and start over?