HOW TO MAKE A FRESH START?
January 5, 2018 / TLIG – Friday Service / Bro. Absalom Lipadan
TEXT: Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)
18 Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.
How many of you “would like to have a fresh start in your Christian life?”
Many of us have made many mistakes in our lives as Christians. We have experienced many setbacks and failures throughout our lives and sometimes we allow these mistakes, these setbacks and failures to enslave us to the point that we never enjoy the full Christian life that God has given us to enjoy.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” But here he comes our adversary, called the Devil, like a roaring lion that seeks to still, kill and destroy that life. The Devil will remind us of our past in order to keep us away from enjoying the life that God gave us to live. The Devil does not want you to have a fresh start in life. But,
The good news is, God says,
- I want you to have a fresh start in life,
- I want you to have a new beginning,
- I want to do something new in your life.
We need to understand that God is far more interested in our future than He is in our past. God is more interested in your future than He is with your past. That’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life. He says, “Forget about your past. Forget about the former things. Don’t think about it. Look at the new thing I’m going to do.”
Maybe today you feel that you have made so many mistakes, you have failed God so many times and you have sinned it all away. The good news is, God is saying, “It’s not over, I have plans for your life. I am about to do something new for your life.”
Today we’re going to learn, How To Make a Fresh Start?
From one formula for starting over. S.T.A.R.T.
Take note that, regardless of what kind of failure you had in the past. You may have had a financial failure, or maybe a relational failure, a failure in your marriage. You may have had a moral failure. You may have really blown it and you may have made some decisions you’re so ashamed of and hope nobody ever finds out about. Regardless of the failure you’ve had in your life, here’s how you start over.
1. S – Stop making excuses.
If I want a fresh start in life, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I’ve got to stop blaming other people. I’ve got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances.
Other people can hurt us, other people can harm us, and other people can scar us. But the only person who can ruin your life is you.
Nobody can ruin your life without your permission. You have a choice and that is you can choose how you’re going to respond to those hurts. The Bible says that the starting point is to just be honest and accept responsibility for my part in the problem.
Proverbs 28:13 (TLB) “A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confess and forsakes them he gets another chance.”
He gets a fresh start. He says the starting point to starting over is to be honest and face up to the problems, that most of the problems in my life, most of the failures, are my fault.
It is hard to get people to admit when they are wrong. People do not like to admit, “I made a mistake, and I blew it.” God says, that if we admit the mistake, if we admit our failures, and if we admit our sin, then we get another chance in life.
“The number one reason we fail in life is we don’t prepare ourselves for the problems that we will face in life.”
The Bible says in Proverbs 21:12 (TLB), “A sensible man watches for problems and prepares to meet them but the fool never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.”
- At the time of Noah.
Was it raining when Noah started building the ark? No. He had to prepare for the coming flood. In fact the rain didn’t come for 120 years. But that’s how long it took him to get the thing built.
“Sometimes, we don’t listen to others. We don’t listen to good advice when it’s offered.”
The Bible says in Proverbs 15:22 (TLB) “Plans fail without good advice.” You need to get all the advice you can. Get good advice from people you know you can trust.
- King Solomon has many advisers.
Why do some people don’t listen to the advice of other people? Because they think they don’t need it. It’s called pride. Ego. Ego stands for “Edging God Out.” When a person thinks they know more than God, they push Him out of their life, they’re on an ego trip and that trip leads to a dead end.
The Bible says, “Pride always leads to destruction.”
Proverbs 11:2 (NIV) – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV) – A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
An arrogant attitude leads to a fall. When I think I know it all and I can figure it all out myself, I’m setting myself up for failure. If I don’t listen to the advice of others, if I don’t listen to the advice of my wife/boss/husband/other people around me, if I think I’ll just do it my way. I’ll never get anywhere. The person that gets too big for their britches, will eventually be exposed in the end. That’s the problem with pride.
We fail to prepare and we fail to listen to other people and we fail as a result.
We give up too soon. These are the causes for failure. We give up too soon.
Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV) – If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Proverbs 24:10 (NLT) – If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
“If you give up when troubles come, it just shows that you are weak.”
Failure is the path of least resistance. The problem is that often during trying times we stop trying and easily give up.
Sometime if we failed, we say,
- If at first when we don’t succeed – we tend to say welcome to the human race but don’t give up.
- If at first we don’t succeed- we tend to say it’s normal, very few people make it on the first try.
Oftentimes, we give up just when success is close to us or just around the corner.
You’ll never be a failure until you give up. Sometimes we give up too soon.
It’s always too soon to quit.
Brethren, we need to stop making excuses, admit when it’s our fault and get on with life.
People who are very good at making excuses are rarely good at anything else. They spend all their energy & time thinking up reasons why they can’t do what they’re supposed to do.
“S” in START stands for Stop making excuses if you want to succeed in your life both Spiritually and even materially
2. T – Take An Inventory Of My Life
We need to take an inventory of our life. That means we need to evaluate all our past experiences.
I need to look at what I have left after the failure. I need to take an inventory of my life’s experiences and learn from them.
We have experienced many things and hope all those experiences are not wasted.
The Living Bible says, Galatians 3:4 “You have suffered so much for the gospel. Now are you going to throw it all overboard”. I can hardly believe it.
Learn from your mistakes. Failure may come into two categories:
Either Failure can be your friend or your foe. You determine if failure will be your friend or foe by the way you react to it.
- Mistakes & Failures can be your friend: You can choose to learn from it or choose to repeat it. If you learn from it then it can be your friend.
- Mistakes & Failures can be your foe: If you don’t learn from it, it is your foe.
There are several kinds of experiences that God uses to shape our lives.
- He uses personal experiences. The family that you grew up in, the people you relate to. God can use your personal experience with your husband or your wife. He uses personal experiences to shape you.
- He uses vocational and educational experiences to shape you.
- He uses spiritual experiences to shape you, like coming to church, going on a retreat or reading your Bible, having a quiet time.
- He uses painful experiences to shape you.
As you take inventory of your life in starting over, you may need to ask yourself the following questions.
- What have I learned? Sit down and think of our past experience and learn from it. Or else, you’ll end up repeating the same mistake over and over again because you didn’t learn from it the first time.
- What are my assets? What have I got going for me? Have I got my health? Have I got my freedom? Am I still mentally sound? Have I got some friends? Have I got the Lord? Have I got a church family? What do I have that I can get a fresh start with?
- Who can help me? When we need a fresh start, we need somebody by our side – a friend, an accountability partner, a support person, or a support group. Find someone who can help you. You need other people because you don’t start over by yourself after a major setback or crisis. You need somebody else to walk along with you. There is one that we can count on to be there to help us to get a fresh start in life. The Lord Jesus will be there, He will help us to pull your lives back together and make sure that we get started on the right foot.
3. A – Act in faith
Bible says that the key to changing anything is faith. If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith. If you want to change your personality, it takes faith. If you want to change anything in your life, you need to have some faith.
Jesus says this in Matthew 9:29. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” That is a very simple statement but it’s very powerful. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” That means we tend to get out of life, the things we we expect. “According to your faith it will be done to you.”
- What are you expecting in life for this year 2018?
- Are things going to be better or worse?
- Are they going to be the same as year 2017?
If you act in faith then you will do something positive to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes over.
Remember in James 2:17 says 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
The faith that I am talking about is not a dead faith but it’s an affirmative faith that takes positive action coupled with the help of God to change your life.;
Biblical Illustration – A Lame Man Healed
Acts 3:1-7 (NKJV) -1. Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. 2. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; 3. Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. 4. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. 5. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 6. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
This man asked for something and expected to get it, but in reality he got more than what he expected. The point here is that the lame man acted in faith and was greatly rewarded. Many times we ask for something but we doubted and expect to get nothing, the result we get exactly what we expected, that is nothing.
In order to start acting in faith, you’ve got to stop having a pity party.
You’ve got to stop feeling sorry for yourself, saying Life is unfair. Of course life is unfair! Whoever said it was fair? God never said that. This is a world filled with sin and because of that, life is unfair. But you have to go on with life anyway.
You’ve got to stop having a pity party and stop rehearsing the past, regretting the past, instead you need get on with the present and the future.
The more time we spend regretting for our past, the more of our future is wasted.
The more time you spend thinking, “I wish that hadn’t happened! I wish I could change that. If only I could go back, reverse the clock and redo history,” and you’re rehearsing and regretting, you’ll not only make yourself miserable right now, you’re setting yourself up for more of the same thing in the future.
You need to set your focus towards the price which God had prepared for us. And in everything, let your request be made know to God. Surely in God’s time “According to your faith it will be done unto you.”
“What you need to do is learn from those failures.”
Real success is built on failure. Failure is the way you become a successful person.
Eventually, you will not call it a failure anymore if you learn from your mistakes, you will then call it an education. You learn from past failures and mistakes and act in faith for the future.
Some may never act in faith because they have been paralyzed by the fear of past failures and mistakes.
What we need to do is learn from the past, act in faith for the future and look to God for guidance.
How do you get rid of fear of failure? Faith. That’s why the third step in starting over is Act in faith. Faith is not so much the absence of fear, as it is moving ahead in spite of your fear. Sometimes faith is doing the thing you fear the most.
Stop worrying about what others say or think. Being afraid to something else or to people can only bring us into trouble
The Living Bible says, Proverbs 29:25 “Fear of man is a dangerous trap, but to trust in God means safety”.
Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
4. R – Refocus
“I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life.”
If I want to get going again, if I want a fresh start, I need to rethink the way that I think. I need to change my mind about a number of issues.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 (TLB) Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life.
“Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
Colossians 3:2– If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Paul explained here, That the right way to live in this world is to seek, set and focus on heavenly things rather than earthly things. We must leave the past behind, put to death our sinful lives and leave in a godly way, looking to Jesus Christ as the head, the author and the finisher of our faith. And when the time comes that He will appear, then you will also appear with Him in glory.
Therefore Paul said in;
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
If I have to refocus my thoughts to start over to get a fresh start, that means I have to stop thinking some old patterns.
Which memories are you still rehearsing that keep you from having a fresh start in life?
Our text says, do not remember neither consider the old things instead Let it go…Let it go.
The more you hold on to that memory, the more you rehearse it, it continues to hurt you today and to your whole life. Let it go and get rid all those painful, hurtful memories of shame and guilt and other things that is not beneficial into your spiritual growth as you journey in this year 2018. So,
How do you do that?
First, confession. Maybe You say, “I’ve confessed to God but I still feel guilty.
How do I get rid of a painful memory? ” It’s simple, not by resisting it but by replacing it.
Not saying, “I’m not going to think about it! I’m not going to think about it!” instead,
Stop focusing on what you don’t want and start focusing on the things that would bring you to a higher stage of your spirituality. You need to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
The Bible says in, 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
What’s the best thing to focus on? Of course, the word of God.
Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Blessed is the man, Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree, Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
To rephrase it;
“Happy are those who are always meditating on God’s word for they are like trees along a river that do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.”
Therefore, if you want to succeed in this year 2018. The antidote, the answer, the secret is “ meditating on God’s word. ” The more you meditate on God’s word, the happier and more successful you’ll be in your Christian life. It’s a promise from God.
Meditating on God’s word simply means rehearsing God’s word in our minds.
It’s interesting that the Bible does not say, “If you read this book, you’ll be happy and successful.” It does not say, “If you listen to this book, like through a sermon, you’ll be happy and successful.” It says, “If you meditate on it you’ll be happy and successful.” In meditating it means we think on it over and over and what it means in our life.
Consider its implications to our life and as we fill our mind with God’s word, it begins to change our mind down to ours hearts then to action. We stop seeing ourselves as other people see us, we begin to see ourselves in God’s perspective. That’s where the change takes place. That’s the power to make fresh start over as we journey in this year 2018.
5. T – Trust God
Trust God to help us succeed in this year 2018. Depend on Him.
We don’t need depend on ourselves. We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we have failed.
If we keep doing the same thing then we will keep getting the same result. We can’t change who we are, only God can do that. I am not speaking about the outward man but the inner man. The real person is the hidden person of the heart. Success in the Christian life is not trying harder, but living smarter. Giving God the full control of our lives.
Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV) So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.
You will not succeed by your own strength or by your power but by the help of Spirit of God. So, don’t grieve nor quench the Holy Spirit in your life. He’s inside, convicting you, guiding you from right or wrong. Just to listen and let Him do the full control of your life.
2 Corinthians 5:17(NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
“When someone becomes a Christian, They become a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!” God specializes in new beginnings. Jesus Christ has the power to do that. It’s called being born again, the chance to start over.
Proverb 3:5-6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
We can have fresh start with a new life as we go on this Year 2018. We need to release the old things that makes your life messy. For God says, from our text, forget the former things, nor consider the old, for God will make a new thing in your life today and till the year ends. He will even pave the road of righteousness for you to follow and even pour out His abundant blessings, His anointing to make you succeed in your spiritual life just like a tree planted on the water that never runs dry. Amen.
Will you have a fresh start in life?
Will you have a new beginning in this year? It’s your choice.
How can I have a fresh start? I can have a fresh start by:
- S – Stop making excuses
- T – Take an inventory of my life
- A – Act in faith
- R – Refocus my thoughts
- T – Trust God
We have all made mistake and wrong decisions in the past year and hope that you have received this simple formula on how to make a fresh start and start in over again this year. AMEN