Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Clapham 2011: Fresh Start in a New Year

by Doug Reynolds, Head of School

 

We enjoyed welcoming back everyone to school as we started classes again in the first week of a new year. 2011, as with every new year, offers a chance for all of us to consider ways in which we’d like to make a “fresh start” or renew with vigor some activities for self improvement.

I am often part of the millions of Americans who annually perform the ritual of determining which resolutions should be part of the new year. Modern research on the brain confirms that repeating a new activity for weeks or months can develop new neural pathways in the brain and new, good habits can be born. Wonderfully, this ability of the brain to change is not limited only to children or younger people. There is hope for those of us who are older, as well.

 

New Year Clapham

 

While these resolutions can be a helpful way to introduce good, new habits, they can create a false sense of confidence in our own ability to affect change in our lives. As I shared with the students this week in chapel, the apostle Paul reminds us in II Corinthians 5:17 that it is only Christ who can make us new: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

 

Martin Lloyd Jones, the great 20th century Welsh preacher, also reminds of this in his collection of beautifully written sermons entitled Spiritual Depression (a title that definitely serves to remind us of our position this side of heaven):

Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression? The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past. Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ. Never look back at your sins again. Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the Blood of Christ.’ That is your first step. Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you. What you need is not to make resolutions to live a better life, to start fasting and sweating and praying. No! You just begin to say:

I rest my faith on Him alone
Who died for my transgressions to atone.

 

May the reminder of what Christ has done for His people be what fuels us in this New Year of 2011. This will help us to have the ultimate “fresh start.”

 

 

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