“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Over one billion people watched the ball drop in New York City’s Times Square. In 1907, they dropped the first iron and wood ball, adorned with one hundred 25-watt bulbs. It was five feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. Over the years, the Times Square ball has gone through four redesigns. The most recent one was created for the Millennial celebration in the year 2000 by Waterford Crystal. It’s a geodesic sphere, six feet in diameter and weighs 1,070 pounds. It’s covered with 504 crystal triangles that vary in size. Each of those triangles has a special designation: Hope for Fellowship, Hope for Peace, Hope for Wisdom, Hope for Unity, Hope for Courage, Hope for Healing. The name of the ball is “The Star of Hope.” Why would they call the New Year’s ball the Star of Hope? Because each new year is a time for hope. It’s a time for opportunity. It is a time to grasp our future and destiny.

Are you hoping for anything new this new year? There are two ways of going about it: wish upon a star, like the little triangles on the New Year’s ball, nice sentiments, but they are not grounded upon any substantive promises. Or you can intentionally engage the presence and power of God and become the new you. You are supposed to become a new person! This is God’s desire for you, that you are no longer sin dominated or self-oriented. 2 Corinthians 5 indicates we are a new creation; the old things pass away. The idea of “dying to the self” is handing over the bad habits: those old ways of thinking, behaving, worrying, doing relationships. The old self should have no hold over us. Dying to Christ means we can now overcome the sin that derails our lives. The problem is the old self does not go down without a fight! Oswald Chambers talked about “the hell of self-renunciation.” This is the battle between my will and Thy will. How many are used to the Romans 7 results: I do the things I do not want to do and do not do the things I want to do. After a while, you feel dead inside. May I point out if you are still breathing, then spiritually speaking, you are not dead yet either! There is always a future and plan for you.

It is only when you surrender and say, “Okay, I’ll forgive other people, help the poor, rearrange the trajectory of my life so Jesus is the center of it,” does Christianity become alive in your different life style.

Too many believe if they only had power, wealth, influence, they’d be happy. And so they struggle and strain to gain those things. But they lack something essential: how God wants you to live your life.

There are places to look for information and knowledge. But have you ever noticed how the world’s values contradict God’s? The difference between human wisdom and God’s is humans can only base their decisions on what we can experience and observe. But the wisdom of God sees farther than we can. I wonder how many people missed Jesus this Christmas, walking right past the gifts offered by God?

God works behind and within the intimate. In other words, transformation requires intentionality and prolonged effort. You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete (Buckminster Fuller). So instead of rolling up your sleeves with a mind over matter, make it happen effort, try interaction with the Spirit of God.

You have a choice: stay the way you are or step into God’s version of you.

Adapted from “The New You” by Rev. Dr. William A. Lewis