Letting Go in 2021
The Japanese have a unique New Year’s Eve tradition. They gather with friends and family and eat Soba noodles shortly before the clock strikes 12. The noodles hold symbolic meaning. The length signifies moving from one year into the next, and the biting and chewing of the noodle denotes letting go of past regrets before a new year begins.
What a great idea! Not necessarily eating a bowl of noodles at 11:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve — but letting go of the past and moving forward in confidence.
The Japanese weren’t the first to come up with this concept, of course. It’s pulled right from the pages of Scripture! Remember Philippians 3:13:
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
It was written by Christ’s dedicated servant Paul. But he wasn’t always so devoted to the Lord. If anyone had a past to regret, he would be the one! He was a zealot. A legalistic Pharisee. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul persecuted Christians and was solidly opposed to growing the church — the “chief of all sinners” by his own account.
But, as you know, God had a plan for Paul. And, thankfully, Paul recognized the importance of putting the past behind him. With God’s forgiveness granted and received, Paul moved beyond his past and became a great evangelist for the Lord!
We cannot afford to live in the past — either controlled by the mistakes of 2020 or the regrets of years gone by. To do so is to reject the precious gift of forgiveness, to say to our Savior that the price He paid on Calvary was not enough to cover our sin and shame. When you live this way, burdened under the weight of guilt, your ministry suffers. Your testimony is stifled. And your relationship with the Lord will not grow.
If you blew it last year, it’s a perfect time to acknowledge your failure before the Lord and repent. Take the “lesson learned” and move forward! Make changes in your behavior, in your habits, and in your choices to avoid going down that road again.
Where would we be if Paul had allowed guilt to guide his actions?
What about King David? What if he had never accepted forgiveness for his sinful deeds?
Abraham? Moses? Peter?
Many of Christ’s most faithful servants were required to leave their sinful pasts behind them. In doing so, they became champions of faith, leading many to Jesus Christ and propelling Christianity forward.
It’s 2021 — time to let go of the past and walk confidently into all God has for you this year!
My prayer this week—Lord, let me always live in the freedom you provide, letting go of past sin and shame, so that I might continue to grow in knowledge of you, develop an intimate relationship with you, and effectively serve you all the days of my life.