Tag Archive | new

Out With the Old

“Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it!” Ephesians 4:22 (MSG)

My daughter has made it clear – we will wait until January 1st to put away the Christmas tree and decorations! Personally, I have the time today so I would rather do it and get it over with. You see, when we put away the decorations from the season, we do a thorough cleaning before putting back the everyday décor. Cleaning up is never as much fun as decorating and to see it sitting there, needing to be done, is difficult.

Another piece to the switching out of décor is the decision of whether we pack the item away for next year or get rid of it. Some items are old and don’t really fit our style anymore. Some items have a story or memory so we wrestle with the emotional attachment to the item and have to decide if it’s worth the space in our storage room. What’s the easiest thing to do in this situation? Pack it and decide to decide next year. So it sits, packed away, taking up space and waiting for us to deal with another day.

“Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go.” Hebrews 12:1a (CEV)

Unfortunately, I know I do this same thing too often with my attitude and behavior. I know the things in my life that I need to change because they really don’t fit who I am anymore in Christ, and yet, there is a memory attached so I choose to hold on a little longer.

There may have been good friends and fun times associated with certain behaviors and to, once in a while, pull them out, dust them off and relive the old is a way to reconnect to some people I miss. Maybe there is someone with whom I am still upset and to consider forgiving and throwing away the anger seems to justify what they’ve done and I’m not yet ready to let them off the hook. Maybe my future in this new way of life just seems uncertain, bigger than me, so it’s easier to stay in the comfort of the old, holding back because I know once I choose to go forward there really is no going back. Getting rid of the old feels like it will leave a big empty space.

But God in His goodness will fill that space if we turn to Him.

“And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:23-24 (MSG)

Once we choose to rid ourselves of the old ways, we make room for God to fill us with His ways. That empty space is a clean slate for God to reproduce His character and attitude in us. He will not leave us empty. On the contrary, He will fill us to overflowing!

Something to Consider…

Is there something new you want to do but you’re not experiencing success? Do you want to move forward but for some reason you feel stuck? There may be something in your life still taking up space, not allowing the new to take hold.

Ask God to help you recognize those attitudes and behaviors that need to go and then allow Him to fill that space and do a new work inside you.

The Gift of a Sacrifice

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)

My daughter has asked me on more than one occasion, “How can God allow babies to die? What good can it bring?” Try explaining that one! I have a tendency to talk out my thoughts. So as I pondered this question, I relayed my own questions.

“Why do any of us die? At what age is it no longer a tragedy that someone dies? A 5 month old who hasn’t even really begun to live her life; a teenager who is just starting to come into her strengths and passions, excited to make her mark on this world; a young father who provides for his family and is a strong role model for his young boys; a mother who won’t see her daughter get married or hold her first grandchild; or the grandparent who has so much knowledge, insight and wisdom yet to share?”

Jesus was sent to this world to die. No, He didn’t die as a baby but that was His purpose. A baby sent to die. What good comes from a young man, only 33, dying at the height of His ministry? And not only dying, but dying for the very people who would sentence Him to death and nail Him to a cross. The very people, who after all these years continue to turn from His goodness, mock His righteousness and deny His deity.

Since the beginning, God has been covering our sin, giving us various ways to make right what we’ve done wrong. God is holy, His standards don’t change and yet we keep testing Him, pushing Him to lower His standards. Instead, He made one way for us to be right with Him.

Through faith in Jesus, we no longer need multiple coverings, sacrifices or offerings to recognize, acknowledge and turn from our selfish ways. We no longer go about our business until it’s time to fess up and make it right. We come to Him still broken sinners. He takes us in, accepts us, loves us and then makes us new.

Every life is precious regardless of age. Every life is but a moment in time. And while we have a purpose to serve during our lifetime, God can find purpose in death as well.

Something to Consider…

Death is not limited to the end of a life. The end of a marriage or career, a broken relationship or a poor diagnosis can all feel like life as come to a screeching stand still; stopped to exist as we know it. We don’t and often can’t understand what God is doing. We don’t see our lives the way He does. So the question comes down to, do we, can we, trust God even when we don’t understand?

Is there a situation in your life where you need to trust God completely because you can’t see how what you are going through can bring good? Choose to trust God so the peace that surpasses all understanding, His peace, can be yours today.

Line of Sight

“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26 (NIV)

Do you have an “issue” in your past that seems to keep getting in your line of sight? You think you’ve dealt with it but it keeps coming up in conversations or thoughts cross your mind when you’re all alone. You wonder how you can rid yourself of this issue and these memories once and for all. All you want to do is forget, but there it is again…

In Genesis 18 and 19 we find the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot and his family have been warned about the coming destruction of the city and are told to leave and to not look back. They are however not told why they shouldn’t look back.

There was a day when driving home from church, I was minding my own business and then it hit me! I remembered something I had done, or allowed to happen, and I felt shame. I literally felt myself turn away from God and hide my face. I realized that while I said I knew I was forgiven, I hadn’t really accepted it as true. I was still trying to hide my sin from God. I was still looking at myself as the old person.

Why is it that we continue to live in that old place of guilt, condemnation and sin? When we are finally on the road leading away from all of our past issues, we tend to look back, almost as if remembering the good old days. What happens when we do this? Does it lift us up or wear us down? Does it encourage us to move forward or keep us stuck in regret? The enemy would love for us to believe we will never really be any different from who we used to be. He continues to show us, tell us or place us in situations where we recognize how bad we once were hoping he can stop us from moving forward into something new.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy (and love – NIV) toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11-12 (NKJV)

In Christ Jesus, all things are made new. We have no fear of guilt or condemnation. Our sins have been wiped away and we are made clean. Because Christ has removed our sin, it is no longer in our line of sight. It can’t be…unless we hold onto it; unless we really haven’t let Him take it. We think we have, we try with all our might, we ask, we plead but somehow we just don’t believe it’s really gone. Somewhere, somehow, God remembers and will hold it against us. He can’t possibly forget what we’ve done. We can’t seem to forget, how can God?

Sometimes we need to understand that we had to learn a certain lesson. Sometimes we see that if we had not been in a specific place at a specific time, as hard as it was at the time, we wouldn’t be the person we are today. Sometimes we just need to see and appreciate the good that has come of our lives. What do you do with the lessons you’ve learned? How do you view your past experiences, good or bad?

Something to Consider…

As you seek God, inviting Christ to do a good work in you, consider whose line of sight you are looking through. Do you see your past through the eyes of the enemy who tells you will never be rid of the old? Or do you seek God’s perspective that says anyone who is in Christ Jesus is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!

Ask God to show you who you are through His line of sight. As He looks at you, all He sees is Jesus.