Where to Start When “Starting Over”
Life comes at us as fast as it goes by us. We may often have plans for what we are go-ing to do, where we are going to go, and/or who we are going to be. But somewhere between the blur, things get lost. Distractions tend to arise. Hopes and dreams can seem to fade; and even our purpose… our reason for being can begin to be blurred as well. It usually results in an awakening that things are not what they should be. That it is time to hit the reset button. It’s time to start over; but where… and how?
The only way to truly start over with our lives is to wipe the old slate clean: To die to the old self and be reborn in baptism. The self that we had become, we realized was not who we should be, or who we want to be anymore, so why would we want to go back to those ways? The new self, created in Christ Jesus, living for God, is who we need to strive to live for daily (Ephesians 4:22-24). When we are “born again” (John 3:3) and “raised up with Christ” (Colossians 3:1) in baptism it is not so we can merely have our conscience cleared (I Peter 3:21), it is so we can have our spirit cleansed of unrighteousness to “walk in the newness of life”.(Romans 6:4) And with that new life, we start where anyone should start… at the beginning.
The beginning is not Genesis 1:1. The old self walked the path of foolishness and sin, but we are called to walk in wisdom and light. (Ephesians 5:8;15) The true beginning we find in Proverbs 4:7, “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom! And with all your acquiring, get understanding.” Wisdom is comprised of knowledge, under-standing, and discernment; and so those are the things we need to be seeking daily when we start over. We start over by acquiring godly wisdom instead of worldly wisdom. We search for spiritual knowledge, understanding, and discernment; and there is no better place to find those things than the book of Proverbs. You can never, I repeat… NEVER read the book of Proverbs enough!
In Proverbs 1:7 it states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. So if we are going to start over, and start over right, that means that our acquir-ing of knowledge needs to be founded upon a healthy respect for the Lord. So where can I go to gain a fear, admiration, respect, and love for God? Two great places come to mind and they both start with the same words, “In the begin-ning…” (Genesis 1:1 / John 1:1). By reading Genesis you will gain a respect for your Creator, Master, and Sustainer while reading in John it will help to develop your love for the Savior. Both books were written for our instruction, and to bring us closer to God as we walk in faith and righteousness. (II Timothy 3:16)
What about those days that are tough? What about those days where Satan is really testing me hard? What about times of depression and/or distraction that will arise and try to bring me back down? How can I maintain a level of growth and make sure that my footing does not slip from the solid foundation of faith built upon God’s word (Mt. 7:24)? Again, there are two places I highly recommend. First, is the book of Psalms. Psalms itself starts off with chapter 1 com-paring the righteous man who walks with God to a tree firmly rooted by the water. The book of Psalms is a priceless treasure to the soul looking to start over. As you read them again and again you will become more familiar with the Psalms that can help you the most, to keep growing in love for God. In the New Testament I would always recommend the book of Colossians. No other epistle, in my humble opinion, delivers such a concise reminder of our salvation and duty in Christ than the book of Colossians. You will never get bored with its power to sustain your faithfulness.
When we start over, and we start over right, then we are starting over with our faith in God. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17); and so, we have to realize this means opening up our Bibles and reading. It may not al-ways be easy to find the time, it may not always be the most fun option availa-ble for things to do, but it will always be needed and always be profitable if you dedicate your heart to it. It’s one of those things in life you will never be sorry you did; but will always be sorry you didn’t… just like starting over with a life in Christ Jesus.