God’s mercies are new every morning, and they are also new every year. However, sometimes, we can expect too much from the turning of the calendar. If we look back over the past year, even with its joys and graces, many aspects of this fallen world still plagued us, including personal battles with sin. This is why many people are ready to move on, but as we look to the new year, we look with anticipation and hope, but a new calendar cannot bring those struggles to an end.
As we look to the new year, our greatest hope is not that all our troubles will end. Though we pray for God to move in these difficulties, and he often does, there is a more excellent gift the Holy Spirit gives to his people: peace and life despite the troubles. In Romans 8, regardless of our constant struggles with sin and our mortal bodies, we are encouraged that the Spirit of God lives in us (Romans 8:9).
As we work to put to death the deeds of sin in our bodies (Romans 8:12), we set our mind on the Spirit, which is life and peace (Romans 8:6). For those who are led by the Spirit in this way, we are children of God, and our Heavenly Father tells his children he loves them. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).
What do I pray for you as you go into this new year? I pray that with the turning of the calendar, no matter what difficulties lie ahead, you will be mindful of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.
The Holy Spirit never does this apart from the word of God, and his testimony is never contrary to the truth of Scripture. In that knowledge and at this moment, I pray you are experiencing the assurance of salvation that comes from this work of the Spirit. I pray that his love is being shed abroad in your heart, and you will know that the hope it produces is much more substantial than the typical new year wish; it will never disappoint.
The Spirit testifies to our spirit because he loves us and to give us strength. He does this to provide us with the endurance to be a light to the world. May your new year be one in which you live in the Spirit regardless of the challenges the year might hold. As a child of God, may your heart be lifted daily as you are fed by the word and pray, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15).
May 2023 be your brightest year yet as you walk in the Spirit, and may the intimate communion with your Lord be a source of endless joy and strength despite the darkness you may encounter.
Happy New Year!