Happy New Year! "The NEW Has Come!"
Happy New Year Everyone!! On this start of a BRAND NEW YEAR I want to make a declaration to all of us straight from the Word of God. “The OLD has PASSED Away; Behold the NEW has COME!” I encourage you to say that again to yourself. Now say it one more time with conviction! The NEW HAS COME!!! It is a New Year! The old year has passed away into history. It will never be relived. That seems like such an obvious statement but do we consider what this means in our lives! We all just took part in an incredible celebration where we were able to give and receive many NEW things. Each one of us received something new for Christmas and if you’re anything like me it was an exciting and joy filled time. In fact, I want to share a particularly exciting gift that I wait all year for. You see, my amazing Mother-In-Law gives me a certain gift every year that I look forward to with Great anticipation. Maybe you have something like this too that you look forward to every year, but for me it is the gift of brand new, handmade, dish rags. I know some of you may be thinking I’m crazy but I am telling you it is the best gift ever. For one thing, I love handmade items in general, but I especially love the knitted dish rags she makes for me. Every year they are different colors and just perfect. But most importantly, by the end of the year my current dish rags are disgusting. I will not describe them to you in detail, but suffice it to say, I am in desperate need of new rags by this time every year. Before you judge me, let me just say that yes I do wash them, but you can only do that for so long before they are beyond help. So, by the time Christmas comes I am so excited to open this particular gift! After our Christmas celebration, I take them all home and the first thing I do with much enthusiasm is rush to my dishrag drawer, grab out all the old rags, and proceed to promptly throw them all away!! I then take my beautiful new rags that are vibrant in color, luscious to the touch, and have a wonderful smell to them and put them in the place of honor in my drawer! It is a wondrous thing to behold. Now, when it comes time to clean, or do the dishes, or wipe the counters, I don’t go back to my garbage and take out my old rags. I would never think of finding the old, dirty, smelly rags and using them instead of the new rags I now have. I tell you all this because each one of us have been given a gift of something NEW from our Savior and Lord. He has come to us recognizing the OLD garment we have been wearing and He has brought us something NEW to put on!! This has been on my mind ever since I opened my new dishrags this year. Ephesians 4:22 & 24 tells us this, “Throw off your OLD sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception…and PUT ON your NEW nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” You see, Jesus has given an incredible gift of Newness to anyone who is IN HIM! He has declared to us that the OLD has passed away and Behold the NEW has come! He tells us to Throw Off and in essence to Throw Away our old selves. Other passages say that these OLD selves are to be put to death. Like my old rags they are to pass away so we can take hold of the New that Christ has for us! I want to encourage you as we start a new year to let the old you go!! Do not go back to the dirty, smelly, old life you used to be clothed in, but instead put on the New You created in Christ Jesus! Ephesians 4:25-32 gives us a helpful list. I will share some of it with you right here. It says, “So stop telling lies. Tell your neighbors the truth…Don’t sin by letting ager control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry…if you are a thief, quit stealing…don’t use foul or abusive language…and do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Get rid of ALL bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and all types of evil behavior.” We are to get rid of all that; to throw it away. Colossians tells us that if any of us are in Christ we are a NEW Creation. The OLD is passed away and the New has Come! Colossians 3:10 tells us to now Put On our NEW nature! What is this new nature? Colossians says, “You must now Clothe Yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Above all, Clothe yourself with LOVE which binds us all together!” What an incredible gift of NEWNESS we have through Christ! We have the opportunity through His power to throw away our old selves and put on Jesus Christ! I can’t think of a better gift than that! Romans 13:14 says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make NO provision for the Flesh!” Often times, though, we only clothe ourselves partly in the newness of Christ. We still want some of our old self and we end up trying to put on some of Christ and some of us, and it is not a pretty sight. I want to encourage us as we start this New Year to ask the Lord what old areas of our lives we have still been wearing? Do we have one arm putting on Jesus and the other putting back on our stinky old self? My prayer for us is that just like my old dishrags, we would not go back to the old nasty way we used to live, but that we would let that old self pass away and put on the New Nature of Jesus Christ!! Praise God for His incredible gift to us. A gift that is eternal, never wears out, and is new and fresh every morning! I will say it again, “The OLD has Passed Away, Behold the NEW Has Come!”
I encourage you to meditate on what God calls us to throw off and what He calls us to PUT ON from these passages:
Ephesians 4:22-32, Colossians 3:10-17