Fresh Start Effect
[Put] on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:10
When Bryony turned thirty, she was sad to still be in a sales job she’d never liked. She decided it was time to stop procrastinating and find a new career. For David, New Year’s Eve had him looking in the mirror vowing this would be the year he lost weight. And for James, it was watching another month pass without his angry outbursts decreasing. Next month, he promised himself, he would try harder.
If you’ve ever vowed to change at the start of a new month, new year, or a major birthday, you’re not alone. Researchers even have a name for it: the fresh start effect. They suggest that at calendar points like these we’re more prone to assess our lives and try putting our failures behind us to start over. Wanting to be better people, we long for a fresh start.
Faith in Jesus speaks powerfully to this longing, offering a vision of what our best selves can be (Colossians 3:12–14) and calling us to leave our past selves behind (vv. 5–9). It offers this change not by decisions and vows alone, but by divine power. When we believe in Jesus, we become new people, and God’s Spirit works in us to make us whole (v. 10; Titus 3:5).
Receiving salvation in Jesus is the ultimate fresh start. And it doesn’t need to wait for a special calendar date. Your new life can start right now.
By Sheridan Voysey
How have you seen the fresh start effect at work in your life? What’s stopping you from receiving God’s gift of a new life now?
Jesus, I give up my own plans to follow Yours. Please give me a fresh start!
To gain a better understanding of the Bible this year.
In Colossians 2, Paul established that we’ve “died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces [or basic principles] of this world” (v. 20). Then he asked these believers in Jesus, “Why do you keep on following the rules of this world” (v. 20 nlt). He’d noticed they were lapsing into a legalistic form of religion. Paul said, “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion.… But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires” (v. 23 nlt).
In chapter 3, Paul turns our focus instead to Christ: “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is” (v. 1). We’re to “put to death… whatever belongs to [our] earthly nature,” that is, our sinful tendencies (vv. 5, 8–9). This may well include things the world would consider “religious.” Instead, we’re to be guided by the Holy Spirit—the only lasting way to change our behavior.