“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Although the beginning of classes may feel a bit daunting for some of us, the start of a new school year often feels refreshing! Our goals are big and our ambitions are high, and we are ready to dive into our new responsibilities and routines. Many people use this time as an opportunity to implement new and healthy lifestyle changes or to finally shake those old, bad habits. The fresh start that a new school year offers sparks a drive and ignites passion and determination in many students!
The practice of approaching each new school year as a fresh start is a great way to challenge ourselves to grow and become more disciplined. By setting goals and identifying the changes we would like to see in ourselves, we begin to discover who exactly we are, what our passions and gifts are and, most importantly, who it is that God wants us to be. This step of desiring change within our lives and admitting our dissatisfaction with how we are living is essential to our relationship with the Lord, as well as our relationships with others.
The truth is that although we may truly desire change, growth and a fresh start in our lives, our once-so-strong determination will eventually begin to fade. Our schedules fill up with classes, jobs and other responsibilities, and the things we had previously felt so passionate about don’t seem to be as problematic. Or maybe we’ve fallen short of the goals we’ve set for ourselves, or we’ve fallen back into the very habits we swore off for the new school year. This, more often than not, leads to feelings of guilt, defeat and hopelessness.
It’s so crucial for all students, and Christians, to remember that as we embark on this new school year, we need to give ourselves grace. Just as Jesus gives grace and forgives us, and as we extend grace to others (hopefully), we must learn to be gracious and forgiving with ourselves. One of the best ways to set out for success is to understand and accept that we won’t always get it right. In fact, we will fail, but when we do, Jesus is waiting to catch us, restore our hearts and spirits and pick us right back up.
One of the most beautiful things about our relationship with Jesus is that it is not a one-and-done thing. When we choose to believe who Jesus is and what He did for us and accept His love and forgiveness, we are given that fresh start we all crave. We are given a clean slate and a blank score. Even better, the fresh start Jesus offers is one that doesn’t expire. He gives it to us freely, over and over again, day by day, moment by moment. No matter how many times we fail or mess up, He is always ready to give us another chance.
So, get ready for fall 2017! Set goals and make healthy changes in your life. But when you fall short or mess up, do not be discouraged! Jesus loves you so much and believes that through humility and full dependence on Him and His grace, we will all live beautiful and God-honoring lives. What more could we ask for?
Throughout its rich history, GCU has remained a vibrant Christian university that is committed to distinctively Christian beliefs, values and practices in accord with its mission and vision. To learn more about GCU’s Christian identity and heritage, visit our website or use the Request More Information button.