By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – January 24, 2016) — “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” — Psalm 51:12(NIV).
We’re already halfway through the first month of 2016. Most entered this year with high hopes to start anew. Some are still sustained by that hope, while for others the new has already worn off.
Just as we’ve changed the calendar from one year to another, many of us vowed to make changes in our health, our jobs, our families, our finances. As the days have passed, however, many have struggled to keep their commitments. The new has worn off.
Just like a new automobile elicits excitement with its ‘new-car’ smell, the thrill wears off when the payments come due. The latest and greatest gadgets we unwrapped under the Christmas tree last month failed to hold our interest as even newer technology appeared. The new has worn off.
If you bought exercise equipment or workout tapes, or joined a gym, you might still be committed to the new you. Statistics reveal that the second week of January is almost always the busiest of the year for gyms. However, by the second week of February, only 20 percent of new enrollees remain, according to Fitness Coach Darren Beattie, citing a Wall Street Journal article. The new has worn off.
I love shopping at thrift stores. I’m always amazed when I find items almost brand new and some even sporting the original price tags. I shake my head, grab a bargain and wonder why someone would get rid of a perfectly good blouse or other piece of clothing never worn. The new has worn off.
Our relationship with God can be like that—a roller coaster of emotions beginning with the first time we committed ourselves to Him. We’re on fire for Him. Our spirits soar, then wax and wane. Then, the new wears off.
However, feelings should not dictate a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Feelings can’t be trusted, but the facts of God’s Word can. Saint Augustine once said, “Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.”
Ask yourself these questions:
1) Have I withdrawn from God? Why? How can I draw closer? (See Psalm 145:18)
2) Why has my faith grown cold? (See Zechariah 1:3)
3) Have I offended God with my choices? (See Psalm 139:23-24)
In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday, which is February 10 this year, is the beginning of Lent, a season of preparation before Easter. The 40 days of Lent is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline with the purpose of setting aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ, His suffering, His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.
If the new has worn off, prepare for renewal. Ask God to “create in you a clean heart and renew a right spirit within.” (Psalm 51:10)
Photo captions: 1) Exhaustion at the gym (http://www.popsugar.com). 2) Carol Round
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