Following Jesus isn’t about “turning over a new leaf”. It’s about a whole new tree…a whole new us, by God’s grace. -Scotty Ward Smith
The word “new” is all over the Bible. It is a word that God seems to be particularly fond of. Here are just a few examples:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5.17
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 36.26
I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. -Revelation 2.17
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” -Revelation 21.5
At the turn of every new year, I find the discussions about the new year (goals, resolutions, etc.) very interesting. One of the most intriguing parts of it all for me is the cynicism that lies beneath much of it. The conversations that almost mock the idea that something will actually be new this year–that things will actually change. Many people are jaded and bitter about the very idea of change, because of experience after experience that leads us to believe that change is unattainable, or at least highly improbable.
Because we are realists (or pessimists). We know ourselves. We know other people. We know the world. And if not on the surface, many of us on a deeper level believe that the new year will bring nothing but more of the same crap. The same struggles, demons, weaknesses, failures, and hopelessness.
And yet, somehow, New Years still gets us–even the cynical ones. We put on a smile for a day or a couple. We make resolutions, even if the other side of our brain is reminding us that we’ve never kept them and probably won’t start this year.
There is something incredibly powerful about the idea of new–the concept of change. You see, I think God created seasons and cycles and re-starts for the express purpose of reminding us of the unalterable fact that because of Him
We stand there in our jaded, just-trying-to-get-by-cynicism, broken against the reality of life as we know it. And God shows up in the form of a giant, sparkly ball that slowly falls amidst a crowd of a million people in Times Square, and a new number, never before seen, lights up to remind us that we’ve got another shot at this thing. A new leaf.
And then He whispers, “Forget about turning over a new leaf…how about a new tree?”
If you are local to Columbia and have a major life issue that you would love to be different this year, I’d love to cordially invite you to our Recovery ministry at Midtown. Our Spring cycle starts January 16th, and I think you’ll enjoy it. God is making lots of things new there.