“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” (rf. Ps. 51:10-13)
Starting afresh is always an exciting venture, especially when the past has not been necessarily a good experience. Each new day, turn of the seasons, and, most notably, the flipping of the calendar provides us the opportunity to reflect back on what has transpired before and how we hope things will move in a more positive direction for the future. However, as much as we may want to bring about lasting change in our own lives, if we really face the truth about ourselves, we are creatures of habit, having carved out ruts that we will default to chiefly when the pressure is on or the stresses of life begin to increase sharply. In other words, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"—"the more it changes, the more it's the same thing", usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same," (Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, Les Guêpes, January 1849). Not much hope there, huh?
However, King David possessed insight that many today do not possess. He realized that the source of real change comes from without, not within. If I am to experience a fundamental transformation, it will be because the Power that created the universe will recreate me from the inside out, starting with my spirit and my heart. From there my mind and will will be renewed in such a fashion that I will no longer be the same as I was before. I will have been touched and truly changed by the hand and Presence of Almighty God.
Having then experienced Him firsthand, my life is never the same again. I now have the platform to be able to share with others the same path that I have trod. I can tell them how to gain the benefits I have obtained by seeking Him who came into my life and did what I could not do by my own efforts. My life has been thoroughly renewed by Him and now I want those around me to share in what I know to be true personally.
So, as we join with David, may we let this portion of his psalm be our prayer for every new day, every new season, indeed, every new year that comes our way. God is in the recreation business. Let us be His living displays so that others may come to know His power to become new as well.