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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Halleluiah! NEW YEAR NEW

New Life; New Days
New Years; New Ways

New life: 2 Corinthians 5:17
New days; new years: Job 36:11
New ways: Proverbs 3:5-6

In this newness of 2009, and in the afterglow of celebrating on New Year’s Eve, I’ve found myself thinking about the word “new”.

This new bible study commemorates a new aspect of my ministry. And while technically for most it is exactly as I just stated, “an aspect of my ministry” – it is indeed for me a new ministry, a new direction and ultimately an entirely new life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When I was first saved, this was the scripture that clung to my heart and made a difference for me. It was a scripture that not only gave me relief but hope as well. But the more I struggled with change (wanting to change and not seeming to be able to change), the more I wondered about the time-line of this scripture. When was the old going to all be new?

It has been 23 ½ years or so now since that day I was saved and as I look back I realize there has been a whole lot of “new” in the course of those years as more old continuously passes away. It has always seemed to me that 2 Corinthians 5:17 was meant to be interpreted as instantaneous – as soon as you are in Christ, all your old life is miraculously gone and you wake up brand-spanking new – a new creation. But today’s study on the word “new” has given me a new interpretation on the concept of “old” in this scripture.

Old isn’t old until you think it is old. If you are throwing out old clothes you generally would not pick out the new shirt you bought the day before, declare it as old and toss it in the pile, price tag and all. If something in your life has not passed away it is not because you are not in Christ it is because it has not become old for you yet. It is current, active and still in style – in your lifestyle, that is. Being in Christ helps you recognize the newness of life that Christ offers - which brings us to the words “are become”.

I had always just excused this grammatical confusion as some old-world dialect like “sayeth”. But considereth thou this: “are” is present-tense. “Become” implies future tense or even past tense, considering how you use it. How then does it make sense to say “are become”? I always translated this portion of the scripture to be “have become” (past tense) or “will become” (future tense) – but you can’t really mix the two, can you? Yes – if God had intended past or future He would have had it stated as such. What he meant was present and continuous. “Are become” is a present and active sense of continuously becoming as in saying; “all things keep becoming like new.” Now we see why old scriptures can have new meaning each time we read them, and behold, I keep noticing my life is continuously made brand new.

And as I look back over this past year and consider the details, I can recall both good times and bad times; struggles and triumphs; fears and joys; concerns and victories. And even if my woes out-weighed my wows, I can still look back with a smile and say 2008 was a good year. Low and behold, I found out just last Tuesday, that this is not a phenomena – it is a promise from the word of God.

Job 36:11 “If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.” With a glad heart and a cheerful spirit I did indeed obey and serve the Lord last year. And, there were days of prosperity – although not all the days of the year – and scripture doesn’t necessarily say that. But I can be assured of all my years as pleasurable ones so long as I continue to obey and serve.

Sheesh, it seems so daunting! Obey and serve – the implication is arduous and tedious, I know! And trust me, obedience this past year was definitely NOT always (if at all) easy. And service is only easy when we’re serving the ones we love or the ones who treat us well. But God does make it easy for us: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

The Lord will show us how to obey and serve, because He knows the way: He is the Way. We do not have to understand how, we do not even need to understand Him – we only need to acknowledge Him, lean on Him and I might add, listen to Him. We spend so much time begging Him for answers and hardly give him time to answer or give ourselves time to listen. And when we do, He’ll provide a plan and direct our path. God is a God of promises and He keeps His word to His own.

And so in the dawn of 2009 as I look forward to the newness of my life and a new way of doing things, I know my new life, my new days, my New Year’s and my new ways are all only possible and are absolutely probable because of The Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus; the Christ. The thought alone brings me great JOY and so, I wish you all a joyous New Year as well!

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