What’s New in Your Life?
I’ve never been too keen on making New Year’s resolutions. I suppose they work for some people. The difficulty, of course, is keeping them even for a few weeks or a few months. The standard joke is that New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. So if you can keep any resolution for a whole year you are an exceptional person!
However, I do believe that as Christians (if not as unbelievers, too) it’s a great idea to resolve to do something new in our lives. When we commit to something new, the very thought of it along with the effort it always entails takes away any lethargy or depression, or even the fear of Covid-19 that exists in our world in 2022.
While one might be hard pressed to find any command or urging in the Bible to take on a new enterprise, it is nevertheless true that our great God was always into doing something new.
On a personal level, in Psalm 40:1-3 David tells of being lifted out of a great depression because of something new God did in his life. I will let him tell it.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a NEW (my emphasis) song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
If anyone needed to be lifted out of the pit of despair it was David. Even though he was a great king and military leader, for much of his life he was hunted and threatened with death by Saul and others. Yet God always protected him and took away his depression by speaking assurance to him and even giving him a new song.
God delights in doing new things.
In the scale of time, God promised the prophet Isaiah that he would create a new heaven and a new earth: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create” (Isaiah 65:17-18). Although there are some references to Jerusalem in this passage, it is clear that this is about eternity because v. 25 tells us, “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
And this promise is repeated in Revelation 21:1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” In v. 5 we are told, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’”
Heaven will be an incredible place, not like the earth we live in where human beings, because God gave us free will, always seem to make a mess of things!
But God isn’t sitting back waiting for an unspecified time to do something new with heaven and earth. He promised through Jeremiah the prophet that a new covenant was coming because the people of Israel continually broke the first covenant (Jer. 31:31-34). The book of Hebrews in the New Testament (another new thing!) says that this promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Heb. 8:6-12). In v. 13 the writer adds, “In speaking of a new covenant he [God] makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
Jesus said this new covenant was “in my blood” in Luke 22:20, a pronouncement repeated by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:25.
Of this new covenant Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Because, as he told us in Romans, “But now we are released from the law . . . so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (7:6).
Paul rephrases what he wrote in Romans 7:6 in Ephesians 2: “But now in Christ Jesus you . . . have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace . . . by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace” (2:13-15).
Sometimes in the evil and Godless world in which we live it is not always easy to let the peace we have in Christ, and the light of the Holy Spirit, to engulf our lives every day. That’s why Paul always encouraged his readers to “put on the new nature” (Eph. 4:24 and Col. 3:10).
And we need to remember and practice Jesus’ new commandment to his disciples in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
How Jesus’ heart must ache for this commandment to be completely kept by all of us!
Finally, the book of Hebrews tells us that we should draw near to God with confidence because we can do so “by the new and living way that he [Jesus] opened for us” (10:19-21).
Since God is a God of new things, always restoring, always working in our world and in our lives, what new thing has God put on your mind for the new year 2022? It could be a restoration of something old, something lost in your life. Or it could be something totally new, perhaps a new you in some respect. Or it could be something new that’s on your heart, a new way or a new ministry to serve our God of new things.
Let the Holy Spirit help you do it.
What about me, you might be asking? What am I going to do that’s new? Well, I have several things on my mind and in my heart, but the immediate new thing, starting this month, is teaching Bible classes via Zoom to Christians at a refugee camp in Tanzania. I can’t wait to get started!