January is always the month of new: new year, new you, new church series and so on. It also holds a special new for me; a new age.

As I reflected on this new age, (I won’t tell you which) I started to think about my identity. Who is Haley?

A realization struck me. For many years I have hung “new in Christ” out like a carrot in front of me, saying to myself, “oh yes, Jesus has made you new, forgiven your sins and all but you still have so much to achieve to really be new.” Read your Bible more, pray more, worship better, teach better, show up more often and on and on the list would go of how I could make myself new in Jesus.

Read that sentence again. Do you see the mistake I made?  Sitting on my couch I realized it. You see, I AM new already and it has nothing to do with me. Jesus has completed the work in me. It is a part of my identity.

No amount of my “good Christianisms” can ever make me newer than I am now! It was a beautiful moment because the carrot dropped right off the stick.

No longer am I striving towards newness but living out of it. It gave me the hope and bravado to tackle anything that comes my way that I haven’t felt in a while! 

In this new year, I pray for a lot of newness for all of us, but mostly I pray that God helps all of us to live out of the newness in Christ and drop the carrot!