The 2023 Difference

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

The 2023 Difference

By Emily Robertson

How do we make 2023 be a year that is different in our relationship to Jesus?  It is the end of the year and as we look back we might be hoping January gives us a new start. We may feel that 2022 is already full of mistakes and regrets.  It is time for a new beginning. How do we stay pure this year after running from God?  How do we get re-acquainted with Him?

Let’s start by saying staying pure in 2023 is the same as purity in any age.  It requires a long look at reality and hope.

The answer is simple and can feel sharp.  However, it shines hope into our dark places.  The key is choosing to believe and have faith that God is calling us back into fellowship with Him. Immediately.  Not once you feel repentant or when you have fixed the error.  God sees us “wiping our mouth” after filling our hearts, minds, and actions with impurity.  Even while our actions are barely consummated we are to come back to Him.  The problem is we are ashamed.  Shame has its place and we should be ashamed when we do wrong. Our God-given conscience (unless it has been seared) catches us in the act of mental, emotional, or physical adultery.  However, we take shame and run from the One we feel we have offended. We think that it is too soon for forgiveness.  We believe we need to marinate first on our wrongs.  We certainly cannot tell anyone. 

Welsh Pastor and medical doctor, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his book Spiritual Depression states our condition perfectly.  We start to believe that it is this “one sin” that is keeping us from God.  God feels distant.  Not true, Lloyd Jones says, the real problem is unbelief.  He explains it this way, “Whatever your sin—it is as wide as that—it does not matter what it is, it does not matter what it was, ‘If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’.  [1]So that if you do not believe that word, and if you go on dwelling on your sin, I say that you are not accepting the Word of God, you are not taking God at His word, you do not believe what He tells you and that is your real sin”.[1]

Are you a Christian who was impure in your past?  Repent and Believe this verse.

Are you a Christian who was impure after you became a Christian?  Repent and believe this verse.

Are you someone who may become impure in the future?  Keep close to God through repentance and believing His Word. 

The Good News of Christ is that Christ, who is pure, took your impurity and calls you back to Himself immediately after your sin.  He calls you to right fellowship with Him, to wholeness, to continue walking—not hiding and avoiding.  Trust that God forgives you when you confess.  Do it right away.  Don’t keep waiting until you are sorry or less ashamed. 

The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world takes away the sins we confess to Him and cleanses us.  Whiter than snow.  The miracle occurs when, after experiencing the freedom in God, our affection for Jesus grows.  He becomes better to us—more captivating, more thrilling.  Our temptations are still there and are strong, but they slowly lose their ties the more we confess and run to Christ with these wanderings. 

How do we see His grace except when we are given it?  The unexplainable miracle is that He changes us by His Spirit until we eventually look behind us and notice we are quite different than we used to be.

How do we re-embrace purity in 2023?  Every time we are impure in mind or action, run to the purest One and ask for His cleansing.  You will be pure again.

*Note from the Author:  It is important to mention that true faith and repentance is different from a free pass to continue sinning so that more grace can be shown to you as Romans 7 states.  It is very likely people who do these things are not Christians at all, but enjoy living how they please.  Let us not trample on the grace of God by sinning so that grace can abound.  As it says in Scripture, “let God be true and every man a liar”. 

[1] 1 John 1:9

[1] Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pg 72.