I didn’t realize a new decade was upon us until I saw it on Facebook. My social media feed, like yours, is filled with looks back at the last decade and forward to the next, recommendations for how to optimize the fresh start of coming years, and suggestions for ways to practice good “self-care.”

We might be a bit self-absorbed.

If the self-help gurus are not handing out the best information, who is? Ponder that question for a moment, then consider John 14:6:

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life…”

If we want our “best life now” and transformation and victory in the coming decade, we won’t find it in self-help books unless our “self-help” book is the Bible. We won’t find what we seek in a “word of the year” or a “word of the decade,” although I’ve chosen both, unless our word reflects surrender and obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Your best life

According to Jesus, He’s the only one who can give us our “best life.” He didn’t use those words, but I believe it’s what He meant.

“…I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The word translated as abundantly is perissos and means “Over and above. Super-added. Exceeding. Abundantly. Supremely.” (1) Here’s the Leanna Paraphrase: “I came so you can have your best life.” 

Selah. Pause and consider.

We find our best life now in Christ alone.

How, then do we achieve the super-added, exceeding, supreme life Jesus offers? It’s amazingly simple. It’s astoundingly hard. Three easy steps can take us to the kind of life most people only dream about.

  1. Repent
  2. Follow
  3. Repeat

A Fresh Start Begins with Repentance

Our life may look great by the world’s standard, but our best life begins with a careful look at our heart and an honest appraisal of our mistakes according to God’s standard. We’ve all done wrong actions and entertained wrong thoughts (sinned). We deal with those by confessing them to God and asking for His forgiveness.

Let’s take a moment to consider and confess our failures.

Scripture tells us He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more.  If God lets our mistakes go, we should do the same. It’s not repentance if we hold on to our sin, so let’s quit rehashing and give our mess to Him. No more take-backs.

Follow

Jesus called His disciples with two simples words: Follow Me. They left their old lives behind and spent every available minute with Jesus. They did what He did. Went where He went even when it was not politically correct. Lived as He lived.

They obeyed.

If we follow Jesus, we spend time with Him through Bible study and prayer. We do what He says. Love as He loves. Forgive as He forgives. His priorities become our own. We let go of our desire for more stuff and find our contentment in more of Him. We obey in big and small areas, even when it’s hard. 

A Fresh Start is Maintained by Repetition

I wish we could repent one time and be through for eternity but it doesn’t work that way. We all fail—whether by the hasty word, impure thought, unkind deed, or neglected obedience. If we want to maintain the sweet closeness Jesus intended, we must be consistent in repentance and obedience. If we make a mistake, we repent, shake it off, and get up again.

Repent. Follow. Repeat. For the disciple of Jesus, it’s more than mantra. It’s a way of life and the key to our best life now. When we unload our sin burden by confession and repentance, we have a fresh start. When we enjoy a sweet relationship with Jesus by time spent with Him and a lifestyle of obedience, we experience the abundance He intended.

Abundance doesn’t mean stuff

Jesus didn’t promise an easy life or earthly wealth. In fact, He promised us trouble and trials. Does that sound like a “best” kind of life? Maybe not. The “best,” however, can be found in His presence despite our trouble and trials and the resulting fruit of the Spirit: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

We don’t have a smorgasbord of spiritual fruit from which we must pick and choose. Instead, we have the opportunity of a lifetime filled with all of it.

A glimpse of “best”

When we repent of our sins, receive Christ’s forgiveness, and make a fresh start by following Jesus, we find in Him our best friend, comforter, guide, healer, and teacher. We are never alone and need never despair, no matter what we face. Over time, He fills our life with love, joy, peace, and all the other aspects of His fruit. We may not have worldly abundance but we can be content with what He gives because Jesus is always enough.

As we plan for the coming year and the coming decade, let’s make a fresh start. Instead of focusing on our “self care,” let’s take a look at our souls instead. Turn to Jesus, let Him cleanse us again, and spend the coming years as a follower—not of the world but of the One who created the world and still holds it in his no-slip grip.

 

1)”G4053 – perissos – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 1 Jan, 2020. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4053&t=NASB

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Here are links to a few other posts you might enjoy:

When the God of the Universe Knows Your Name

How to Trust God in Hard Times

Repentance and the Benefits Package

Will We Make Room for God in Our Lives?

Contentment Regardless of Circumstances

Repentance: It’s Not Optional

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a fresh start