“Begin Again”: A Weekly Devotional for a New Year, Week 1

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 1:4-5

         

If you want to make a new beginning, then surely you must at least do something different, right? You can’t just sit there and wait for change to happen. You must make it happen. No one else can do this for you.

The Book of Acts is about new beginnings. It is about how the New Beginning – Jesus Christ – transforms the lives of people He already knows, and how He enters and begins to transform the lives of people who do not know him.

Is there someone in your life who changed you, completely, after you met him or her? Changed you, hopefully, for the better? Or maybe changed you in ways that you regret, or wish hadn’t happened. Either way, you know the power that one person can have in your life.

Jesus can be that kind of person for you, but He won’t force himself into your life – He’s that gracious and that holy. Gracious, and so He honors you, a person created in his image. He won’t bully you into loving him. Holy, and here’s the tough, but truthful thing: He doesn’t need you – Jesus is not a needy Savior. You can go on living the way that you are – you can pretend there’s no problem, but Jesus can’t. And He won’t. To be transformed by him, you have to say Yes to him, and No to all that stands in his way.

The first thing to say No to, is the desire to run out and do something. Why? Because whatever you do, it will be you doing it. You need to change. You need to be changed, and Jesus says that begins by doing nothing. By waiting. And just when you think you can’t stand it, to wait some more. Wait for what only He can provide: a new start that lasts.

When you wait, He promises a baptism will be on the way – one that will change you, fundamentally. A baptism means new birth, a new start. You could try any number of new beginnings in the days, weeks, and months ahead, but if they don’t begin with God, where will they lead? Wait and pray for the Holy Spirit to fall on you and make a new beginning in you.

So maybe you can and should do one thing, for now: Wait. Carve out time in your calendar to wait for Jesus, each day – no speaking, no doing, only waiting. And get ready: He’s coming, and you will not be the same after He does.

Prayer: Father, we are so busy that we think we don’t have time for you – even to wait for you. But you call us to stop and wait, and the promise you give with that call, is that we will be changed deeply, fundamentally by your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit. Fall on me afresh. Fill me anew. Make a new beginning with me, Lord, I ask this, in your precious Name. Amen.

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