Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” -John 11:39 (NKJV)

So it’s been a couple of weeks since the new year. How are your resolutions going?

It’s easy to get discouraged when we commit to doing better, but fall back on old habits. And sometimes, others will tell us that we can’t improve because haven’t changed at all. It’s like they want to remember us as our past selves…and we have to be careful not to think of ourselves as some snapshot from the past, either.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus was indeed alive again…but still reeked from his old flesh rotting earlier. But because Lazarus was alive once more, he could go wash himself and change his smelly garments. His flesh was no longer rotting, but miraculously restored.

In our lives, we live to move forward and upward to God’s glory. We are not our pasts, no matter how much we or others mistakenly tell us so. He gives us new, clean garments in our new walk.

It does take conscious effort, however, to not fall into that trap of putting on the old, and to instead actively cleanse ourselves with His help. Thank you, Lord, for new life, and new opportunities and mercies anew each day!