“New Year, New Me; Same Me Though”

By: Scott Armstrong

I’m a basketball fan. And I’m a missionary. So when I came across this gem of an interview with Charlotte Hornets’ guard, LaMelo Ball, at the end of his final game of 2021, I was ecstatic. The first part of the interview is just regular drivel that players say when they want to get back to the locker room as quickly as possible. But then he realizes it’s almost January 1, pans to the camera, and says something I will remember for a long while:

“New Year, New Me; Same Me Though.”

Legendary.

Apart from being hilarious, his quip immediately ignited my pastor and missionary mind. How many times have I had conversations with people around New Year’s where they resolve to enact grand, sweeping changes in their lives, only to abandon them within the first month? And let’s not solely point the finger at others. If I were truly honest with myself, when have I said I would be different, all the while knowing that I should probably throw in the caveat, “Same me, though”?

You see, to witness true transformation in our lives, it is going to require more than a pithy mantra like, “New Year, New You.” We will need to intentionally take measures to stop certain actions and develop new habits.

This is, of course, quite biblical. First, Lamelo’s saying is truly the ballad of the unsanctified, right? It’s what Paul describes in Romans 7 – I do what I want to do, and I don’t do what I know I should do! How many of us never get past that stage in our spiritual lives? We proclaim that Christ has transformed us, yet we still hold on to certain things, unwilling to offer them – and us – completely to God. New me! Ahem…same me though.

Let’s get back to habits. Does your New Year’s resolution deal with giving more? Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, “Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.” Don’t just talk about being generous; cast your bread out! Start to save now so that there is money to give later.

Or maybe you’re newly committed to invest in your devotional life. As Joseph Riggs says, “It’s important not to shame anyone here. But if you’re finding your spiritual life is in a rut and can’t quite figure out why your connection with God isn’t where you want it to be, it’s worth asking: What are you doing to improve it?”

We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). We won’t see weight loss unless we purchase different food and prepare different meals. We will still whittle away hours of our lives on social media and funny memes* unless we discipline ourselves to limit our access to those sites starting immediately. And we won’t grow closer to the Lord by just hoping it will happen. All those classic Sunday School answers of reading our Bibles, praying, attending church services and meeting with other believers will go a long way to get us there. Otherwise, as Hosea 8:7 says, we will just be “sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind.”

Are you with me then? Dreams are positive. Resolutions are good. But let’s commit to follow through and not hold back anything that impedes our progress.

New year. New me. No room for the same me in 2022.

*Nothing against a good meme; Lamelo’s interview has become one after all! But man – especially a godly man – does not and should not live on memes alone.

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