Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy "New" Year!

Happy New Year 2012!
Don’t you just love the word “new”?   I’ve been thinking about this word for a week now.  With Christmas only a week ago, “new” describes many gifts we unwrapped.  Actually, all the gifts we received were new.  (For the first year, it didn’t take hours to untangle toys from new boxes for the girls).
I also thought of the word “new” when I polished my kitchen cabinets with orange oil to cover the scratches a few days ago.   While I worked, I thought about my relationship with God. 
When I trusted Jesus to make something new of my life that is what He did.  The word of God says,  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a NEW life has begun!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT), emphasis mine)  God doesn’t just promise to change our lives (even though we change with newness), but promises NEW life.  He doesn’t just come and cover our old “scratches” and imperfections like I did with my cabinets.  He remodels.  He tears out and starts over.  He gives us new thoughts, new priorities, and new purpose. 
God wants us to live NEW in three ways.
#1 Leave the old.
Like Paul’s struggle between his old nature before Christ and new nature in Christ, (described in Romans 7 of the New Testament;  there is the word “new” again), I struggle with my old life of sin versus my new life of freedom from sin.  Does that mean if I sin, I am not NEW anymore?  No.  New does not equal perfection.  But our new life IN Christ gives us the desire and power to say no to sin and self.
Romans 6:6-8 (NLT) says, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” 
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
Live the new by leaving the old.
#2 Put on the new.
Even though we are “new”, we must choose to put on the new.  Colossians 3:1-2 says that since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  And later, in that same chapter, verses 12-14 say that as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, we are to clothe ourselves with (put on) compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues, put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Choose to put on the new.
#3 Live the change.
Remember, God does the work.  Sometimes I act like it is my job to “look good”.  Do good works to “oil my own cabinets”.  Look good. Smell good (orange oil smells good for only a short while, then it disappears).  But really God sees my scratches, my sin (my way instead of God’s).  God wants me to rest in Him and He will display my “newness”.
Are you tired of the “old, beat-up cabinets” of your life?  You, too, can have NEW “cabinets” through Jesus.
Leave the old. Put on the new. Live the change in 2012. 

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