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Fresh StartsFresh Starts
by Chad Nall

Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    One of my secret passions is playing video games. A few months ago, my wife bought a set of video games for our computer. It consists of 5 different games. One of the games is called Centipede. It is so much better than the arcade version for one simple reason — if I mess up I can restart the game. If I don’t like how I am doing, I just hit the escape button on my keyboard and start over. I love it! It’s great! If I mess up, I get to try again. This doesn’t happen with those machines that take my quarter.

    Just imagine what school, work, marriage, or life would be like if you could start over when you blow it! Make a 50 on a test or a low grade on your report card, you’re stuck with what you earned. Goof up a project at work and you get passed over the next set of promotions or get a pink slip when things get tough. Mess up at marriage and you might tear up what is precious to you or leave forever scars on the heart of your partner. Even life, full of second chance opportunities, doesn’t let us forget our failures very easily.

    What would your life be like if God dealt as harshly with us when we sinned as the rest of life treats us when we blow it? What if God said, “Nope, Chad. You blew it. You’re forever stuck with your guilt.”

Jesus offers us a fresh start when we sin.
    Unlike in life, Jesus offers us a fresh start when we sin. Although our sins hurt God and we have consequences for them, God does offer us a fresh start. it’9s called forgiveness. Take the woman caught in adultery for example in John 8:1-11. While the Pharisees wanted to stone her (which was the punishment according to the law for that crime), Jesus offered her a second chance. According to God’9s law, the woman should have been stoned, but Jesus did not condemn her. He simply said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Just like this woman, you have been given a second chance, a fresh start.

    But, Jesus doesn’t leave it at that. He told her “Go now and leave your life of sin.” We are called to live the life of one who has been given a fresh start. This week as we stand at the beginning of a new year, I challenge you to live as one who has been given a second chance. Realize that God has forgiven you, and then go live like it!

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
(John 8:9-11)

    Further reflection questions:

  1. In what areas of your life do you need a fresh start?

  2. How can you live this week as one who has been given a fresh start?
      © 2001, Chad Nall. Used by permission.

      Title: "Fresh Starts"
      Author: Chad Nall
      Publication Date: January 1, 2002

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