Monday, April 11, 2016

Time to Hit the Reset Button?

With the relentless advance of our technological society, what would we ever do without the reset button?

Computers have a reset (or “restart”) button, handy for whenever they start acting erratically or decide to freeze up. In most cases we can “reset” and the computer’s running smoothly again. Twice a year, for Daylight Savings Time and Daylight Losing Time (better known as Standard Time), most of us reset our digital clocks, moving an hour forward or backward as the calendar ordains. And if you ever have to replace your car battery, it’s necessary to reset the programmed “presets” on the radio for your preferred stations. In each case, it’s like starting over.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a reset button for life?

I was reminded of this while listening to a commentary on the prodigal son, a parable Jesus told in Luke 15. You might recall the story about a son demanding his inheritance from his father even though “dad” was still very much alive. Adding insult to injury, the son squandered his premature fortune on riotous, irresponsible living, ending up in his own personal “bay of pigs” long before anyone had ever heard of Cuba or a missile crisis.

Finally coming to his senses, the still-young man decided to return home, realizing he couldn’t possibly expect to be restored to his family. But even taking on the role of a household servant would be a vast improvement over wallowing with the hogs.

Jesus’ story takes an unexpected turn, however, when instead of being angry or vindictive, the father runs – ignoring the social norm of the day – and welcomes his long-lost son, forgiving his previous ingratitude and disrespect. He even declared an impromptu party for celebrating the prodigal’s return. In a lavish demonstration of unconditional, undeserved love, the father was letting his son hit the “reset” button of his life.

Have you ever wished you could hit “reset” for wherever you are in your own life – to make a fresh start and repair a damaged relationship, redirect a struggling or unfulfilling career, undo unwise financial investments, or revisit poor personal choices that proved disastrous?

The amazing thing about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is He does just that. He provide the way to reset our lives, being able to make a fresh start. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”

This doesn’t mean our past is erased. Sometimes the consequences of bad decisions remain. But we’re given the opportunity to experience a new and very different present and future if we desire that. It’s a wonderful truth and promise, even though it takes a lifetime to grasp it fully and experience it by faith.

We see this assurance repeatedly in the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God declares, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

So the next time you find yourself wishing you could hit the “reset” button in your life, reflect on these and other assurances of new life in Christ we find in the Bible. As another translation of 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Old things have disappeared, and – look! – all things have become new!”

What if we really believed this – and acted upon it? What difference could it make? Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?

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