What to do when God gives you a new beginning

Have you ever thought about how the month of January got its name? The month of January is often most associated with new beginnings because in the Georgian calendar, that’s when the new year begins. This concept came from Roman mythology. The first month of the year was named based on the Roman god Janus who was said to be the god of beginnings and transitions. 

Why am I bringing this up?

Because regardless of who is claiming dibs of new beginnings, I want you to be sure that the God of heaven has first dibs. He who is intimately familiar with your very first beginning stands by on a daily basis to offer you a new start. So what do you do when God gives you a new beginning?

What does a new beginning mean?

Any opportunity that you get to wipe the slate clean and start over is a new beginning. It could also be a chance to pick up where you left off in one season of life to start at a more advanced level in another season of life. A new beginning could be a period of transition. In the Bible, new beginnings usually mean a God-granted opportunity to start again. 

What are examples of new beginnings

These opportunities don’t look the same for everyone. Nor do that look the same in each season of your life. You can have multiple new beginnings happening at the same time in your life.

For example, you could be graduating from college and getting married in the same month. Those are two huge milestones related to two dimensions of your life.

A new beginning can be:

  • Getting baptized

  • Joining a new congregation

  • Starting a degree program

  • Launching a business

  • Getting a promotion

  • Moving to a new city

  • Dating someone new

  • Having a baby

  • Migrating to a new country

  • Reconnecting with an old friend

  • Changing your diet

  • Implementing a new exercise program

While many people use the start of the year for new resolutions, my personal take on it is that you can determine when you want to start over. The list above has things which are probably not going to be happening in January.

You can decide to begin working on a goal in the middle of the calendar year if you like. Or maybe as you ponder things on a weekend you can choose to start on Monday. New beginnings are not just for new years. This is especially true with spiritual new beginnings.

Spiritual new beginnings

In the Bible, Jesus talks about being born again. This of course isn’t physically possible. What Jesus actually meant was that our hearts need to be submitted to God so that the Holy Spirit can take control of our lives.

You no longer operate as though you are on your own and in charge of your own life. Through this, your life can be God-directed, leading you to live the full, free, abundant life promised to you in John 10:10.

When you experience a new beginning born of the Holy Spirit, your whole life is affected. It is really very much like you are a new born baby. You are given a clean slate. 

In fact, a whole new book!

The decisions you make are different. The way you choose to see challenges changes. The events in your life take on new meaning. Your purpose becomes clearer. Your faith walk becomes more confident.

Throughout your walk with God, you will need the benefit of new beginnings. You will stumble, fall, fail, and make mistakes. That’s where you will need the grace of God to start over each and every time.

You see, spiritual new beginnings does not mean you get everything right the first time around. Rather, it’s a process. One that will take your whole life to perfect. That’s why setting spiritual goals is a great thing to do so you can know exactly what you’re working on each year.

There is no point in start over if you never grow.

But while you are working on all that, know this: there is nothing you can do to earn your salvation. Jesus has done the job and given you the benefits. Your job is to live, walk, and grow in freedom.

Who in the Bible had a new beginning?

Examples of new beginnings in the bible are many. Just because God is a god of new beginnings. Here is a tiny list of characters who got a fresh start with God. In this post, we will look at some of the lessons we can learn from them.

  • David

  • Saul

  • Moses

  • Woman caught in adultery

  • Noah

  • Woman at the well

  • Children of Israel

  • The Prodigal Son

  • Jacob

  • Joseph

What to do when god gives you a new beginning

Studying the stories of new beginnings in the bible is one of the best ways to get ideas on how to move forward with God. 

Let’s jump in…

Give yourself a new start too

David is popular in the Scriptures for being a man after God’s heart. But his life wasn’t all peaches just because thought this way about him.

David was a warrior. An extraordinary one too. The number of men he slaughtered in battle disqualified from building the temple God desires for Israel to build. 

David was also a womanizer. He stole another man’s wife, got her pregnant and then tried to pin the pregnancy on her husband. When that wouldn’t work, he concocted a plan to have Uriah, the husband, murdered. Then he married the woman to try and cover his tracks. I tell you, the Bible has all the soap opera you will ever need.

But despite all that and more, David was never afraid to start over with God. Each time he began afresh, he would repent and pray. Then he would walk away in freedom. David didn’t seem to walk around being burdened by guilt.

The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him  and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.

God sees you as a brand new person once you’ve made the decision to start over. It’s kind of like you moving to a whole new country where nobody knows you ore anything about you.

Once you’ve turned a new leaf with God, don’t walk in guilt and fear. God has your back. Walk in confidence that God does not hold your past against you. If God has given you a second chance, you should probably give yourself one too. You don’t have the right to judge yourself.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:20

Forget about those who will not give you a second chance

It was no secret. He might have changed his name but people already knew his resume. The apostle Paul was known for persecution of those who believed in Jesus. 

He traveled far and wide to do this work. He held the clothes of those who stoned the early Jesus-believers to death. The very mention of his name made people shiver.

But now he was claiming to be a Jesus-believer himself. 

His was an overnight conversion it appeared. Nobody believed that he wanted to preach about the same Jesus whom he did believe on a few days ago. 

Nobody would accept the new Paul. Nobody would allow him the opportunity to show he deserved a new start. They held up his past sins before, unwilling to let him forget who he once was.

This new purpose for his life was in limbo. For him to accomplish it, he had to ignore those who didn’t believe he had been converted.

If you find yourself in a situation like Paul’s, move on with your life. Don’t live in the past just because others keep reminding you of it. When they come wanting to talk, let them know politely that you appreciate them sharing but you no longer live in that place therefore you genuinely do not have the time or space to entertain them.

accepts God’s forgiveness and gifts

Jesus tells a parable about a father and his two sons. One day his younger son asks him for his share of the inheritance. He couldn’t wait until his father was dead. He wanted it now.

His dad handed over what was his and he went off to live a wild life. Soon after, all his money dried up. All his friends left him. Then a famine broke out and he was starving. Just when he was about to eat the food of pigs he was hired to feed, he realized that he had a choice. 

He didn’t have to live the way he was living.

His father’s servants had so much luxury. Why couldn’t he at least benefit from that. He decided to return home and ask his father to allow him to be a slave in his house. 

But when he returned home, he got a shocking welcome. Not only was his father overjoyed to see him. Immediately his father threw a feast of epic proportions and had him robed like a king. His brother wasn’t happy and expressed that he did not deserve it.

God treats you the same way when he gives you a new start. He restores you completely. All that you have lost he gives back to you. The question is: do you accept it?

You see, there is this thing called imposter syndrome. It’s when you feel like you don’t deserve all the blessings you have received in return for all the work you’ve done. This son wanted to decrease his value in his father’s sight but his father never saw him that way. 

Here he was ready to live beneath his privilege. Ready to be a slave to his past. Ready to live the rest of his life under judgment. His father wouldn’t have. He gave him a brand new beginning, celebrating the fact that he had come to his senses.

You deserve the blessing of that new job, your successful business, that promotion, that scholarship, that grant, that husband, those children, that new car, the degree, that house. People will try to make you feel like you don’t deserve it or like you don’t belong. What they think shouldn’t concern you.

Whatever it is, you belong to the blessing because God doesn’t hold your mistakes or humble beginnings against you. So own them. They are yours to enjoy.

Grab your new start with both hands

For hundreds of years God promised to release the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses was born to fulfill that purpose. When the time had come, God released them in a dramatic showdown which culminated at the Red Sea. 

Now it was time for them to claim and occupy the promised land which God said would be flowing with milk and honey. In other words, it was a place in which they could live in complete freedom, they would have more than they needed to live on and eat from.

Yet, when they got there…

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it. But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:30-33

God had all but given them the land on a silver platter. Even though they had to fight, the victory was already theirs before the first sword was drawn. But they allowed fear and negative thinking to take over.

Because of their attitude, God told them to turn back and go to the dessert. This is how they ended up in the wilderness for 40 years, walking around in circles. It had taken them two weeks to get to Canaan but it took them 4 decades to enter!

When God gives you an opportunity to start a new life, grasped it with all you have in you. Hold on to it with confidence. Don’t allow the appearance of the situation to frighten you away from your blessings. Otherwise, it might take you longer to accomplish what God has set out to do for you and in you. Lots of wasted years.

You might have to work hard and fight but you are not alone. God promises his comfort for hard times and his victory for your battles.

Work on yourself

Moses was basically a prince in Egypt. He was born a Hebrew but was adopted by an Egyptian. Despite this, he knew God had called him to deliver the children of Israel from slavery. Unfortunately he murdered an Egyptian. This he did because he was running ahead of God. Yes, he was to deliver the Israelites but not in this way. Moses became a fugitive.

But here’s the good news: while he was on the run and in hiding, God was working on him. For 40 years God allowed him to be a shepherd so he could learn to become a humble and selfless leader. God gave him the chance to start over. When God calls gim after 40 years, his job is to lead 2 million people out of slavery into freedom.

When God gives you a second chance, take time to work on yourself. Go on a retreat. Get into a quiet place. Be more silent. Spend time in the Word. Reflect. Journal. Get therapy. Revamp your meal choices. Read books. Go on a journey of transformation. Set spiritual goals.

So when God is good and ready for you to fulfill your calling, you will have been doing the work of preparation.

 Make no mistake. The new start God has given you is not just for you. It’s for others who are waiting to be released from their own shackles based on the work you will do with them.

Change the behaviors you use to have

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results.

So then, when you are closing a door on an untruthful season of your life, you just cannot do the same things you used to do. Where you are now is directly related to the decisions, behaviors, routines you had in the previous season. Change them.

When the woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus, he defended her. His defence prevented her from being stoned to death. But he did not expect her to keep on giving herself to strange men. He told her to walk away from that life and anything related to it.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said.Then neither do I condemn you,”(H) Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”(John 8:10-11)

In another instance, after healing a man crippled for 38 years Jesus says something similar to him.

Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” John 5:14

Repentance is more than just about being sorry for what you did and the burden you feel from the consequences. It’s also about turning away from the bad things that led you down the path in the first place.

As you start a new journey, make better decisions that you can be proud of. That will bring positive fruits. That God can support. Engage in behaviors that will grow your faith, finances, relationships, health and career.

Resurrect your devotional life

God caused the worldwide flood leaving only Noah and his family. It took quite some time for the water to subside. But when it finally did dry up enough for them to stand on land, Noah did something special

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:18-20)

See, the first thing Noah did was to worship and express gratitude to God. When you look back on all God has done for you, when you think about all of what he saved you from, when you think about his protection, you should set up an alter.

Starting over is a great time to start a gratitude journal. It’s also an even better time to rekindle or start a devotional life. Work on growing your faith by setting some faith goals. Start small. Read a Psalm a day. Or a simple devotional. Set up and cue a playlist of your favorite praise and worship songs.

Draw close to God and He will draw close to you. He’s always ready to help you start again, no matter how many times you have strayed or fallen.

Change your name

Let me ask you a question. Now that God has given you a new start, what would you like to be known for? Many Bible characters had a name change. Abram became Abraham, Simon became Peter, Saul became Paul and Jacob became Israel.

All their stories are so interesting but I want to talk about Jacob. He and his brother Esau were twins. Back in those days, birthright was a big deal. Jacob and his mother devised a plan for Jacob to receive his brother’s blessing. It was a web of deceit really. But it shouldn’t surprise you.

Why?

Because his name literally translates “supplanter” which means deceiver. 

Jacob was living out his name.

Over 20 years later, after life had battered him and he wrestled with God, pleading for a blessing that was missing from his life all these years. As a result of this experience, God changed his name to Israel. It means “God contends” or “God shall fight”. Now, Jacob was no longer known as a liar and thief. Now his identity was bound up with the God in whom he believed.

I’m not saying you should go out to have your birth certificate changed. Not at all. What I mean by changing your name is that you will start carving out a new reputation. You are going to work on transforming your story.

So if you were in debt, you change your name to someone who has gained control of your finances. If you were promiscuous, work on changing your name to a woman whose worth is built on more than getting into bed with a man.

If you are angry, change your name to someone who is at peace with yourself and others. If you are insecure, change your name to someone who is confident. If you are shy, change your name to someone who is assertive. If you’re known for being negative, work on becoming known for being positive and  uplifting.

Whatever transformation looks like for you, work towards it. Because when God gives you a chance to start over, He’s giving you an opportunity to be known for something different. And whatever that thing is will give someone the permission as well as the hope that change can be possible for them as well.

Do your very best no matter what the new start looks like

New beginnings don’t always come on a red carpet or in a box nicely wrapped with a bow on top. Sometimes they can actually look like taking a step back. The life of Joseph is a classic example of this. Born into a family of 10 brothers, Joseph was a victim of his father’s favoritism.

When he was just a boy, his older brothers threw him in a pit, then sold him into slavery. That was his first round of a new start. While a slave, he was promoted to working in the home of a palace official. That was his second round of a new beginning.

But alas, that did not last. Before he knew it, he was in prison for being accused of sexual assault. New beginning number three. While in prison, Joseph was outstanding in his service. He became a leader and used his gift of interpreting dreams to help other inmates.

You might have been disappointed by being passed up for a promotion. Maybe you got demoted instead of promoted. It’s possible that due to circumstances you have to give up a well-paying job to settle for something that’s a half or one-third the pay. Perhaps you got married only to realize that things are not what you expected them to be

Here is what I will say: be faithful with little. Whatever your hands are doing now, give it your absolute best shot. Go the extra mile even when you don’t feel like it. Do whatever you need to do to keep yourself encouraged and motivated. While you are there, find out what skills God would have you learn from the situation. And in the same breath, find a way to use your gifts to serve someone. 

Know that this new beginning that seems like it holds no promise might just be a huge stepping stone to something massive. The thing is, God might be using this season to prepare you for it. Don’t miss your opportunity to get yourself ready for it.

Remember, Joseph eventually became prime minister of the very place he was enslaved in. Every single experience which led him there prepared him because he was faithful at every stage.

share your testimony

As I’ve said before in this post, your journey of starting over is bigger than you. There is a bigger picture to your story.

Take the woman at the well for example. She met Jesus while she was doing a daily chore of fetching water from the well. What was unusual was the time of day she went to do this. It was the middle of the day.

In those days women went to the well either in the cool of the early morning or the cool of the evening. Not at the hottest time of day.

But this woman had her reasons. You see, she wasn’t an honorable woman. She wasn’t someone any respectable woman or man wanted to be seen with.

And Jesus told her her entire life story right there at the well in the middle of the day. He didn’t only do that but he offered something she had been longing for: freedom from a life of shame and disgrace. Freedom from a life in which she felt like she did not matter. When she got this freedom, she did not keep it to herself

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him. ( John 4:28-30)

As a result of what she did, a large number of people in the town was saved.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:39)

Someone is waiting to be challenged, touched, inspired, charged, changed by your story of how God picked you up and set you on a new path. They need to hear your story to know that God is in the business of new beginnings. They need to know that it’s never too late to start over. So when God gives you a new season, make it your goal to tell others. 

It doesn’t have to be on a huge platform either. You don’t need YouTube or a pulpit or IG or Twitter. Share it with a classmate, a coworker, the woman at the grocery store, while you wait for service. Write it and submit it to a devotional for publishing or for an online magazine. It’s not just your story only. It’s God’s story too. Share it.

One note of caution though: if your story is one that involves trauma, be sure you have healed from it before you share. Learn to tell your story from a place of power first.

What does the Bible say about new beginnings?

God is all about second chances. Whether you’re interested in it or not, it’s available to you. In this post, we have reviewed the stories of Bible characters who started over with God. 

Let’s look at some other Scriptures about new beginnings.

bible verses about starting a new journey

When you’re looking to take up God’s offer of a new beginning it’s good to have some Biblical support. Here are a few Bible verses to study, journal, pray through, and memorize. I hope these verses help you to dive a little deeper into what God says about new beginnings.

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins. (Mark 2:21-22)

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:9)

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3-4)

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant… (Deuteronomy 6:10-11)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:10-12)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:26-28)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

When God gives you a new beginning it starts with an ending

If you look up drawings of Janus, you will notice that there are two faces, each looking to the left and right. It is intended to mean looking back at the past as well as looking forward to the future.

If you are going to start over with God, you need to close the door on the past. Yes, you should look at it. Yes, you should reflect on it. 

But no, you should not dwell on it. And you should absolutely not take it with you.

Your past only serves the purpose of motivating you to move forward. That’s it. Someone said you should never waste your time looking back because that’s not the direction you’re moving towards. They were right.

Your old life is gone and new has come. God says you are new. And that’s all you need to know.

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