I doubt I’m alone in saying that I especially enjoy new things – new clothes, shoes, hairstyles. I’ll take new paint on the walls and newly washed sheets any day of the week!
Do you know why we like new things? Because they energize us and inspire a new excitement about ourselves and our situations. New arouses the fresh flavor of hopeful within the tired and mundane.
Sometimes, though, this love of all things new can get us into trouble financially or even relationally. Particularly if the desire for newness becomes insatiable, like an addiction. Maybe for some, the attraction to new is in the hiding of the not-so-favorable old, as in an unhealthy denial.
But there’s one forever new we can enjoy to our heart’s content and fully surrender to the craving.
SEE THE ETERNAL NEW
This new I’m talking about is already found in YOU. You don’t have to work for, plan for or implement it. It’s customized especially for you, and it’s a perfect fit for anything you ever need to do, say or think. You’re chock-full of new to the brim, and it just keeps springing forth. I know this because of the words written in Isaiah:
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
When I was a young girl, I’m sure like some of you, I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I was too fat, too tall, not pretty enough and oozing with average. Many times, if I was noticed at all, it was for my physical flaws. My answer to this was striving for approval and a self-inflicted demanding of perfection. The new I sought was purely external. What I didn’t realize was that even then, my heavenly Father was already at work making my insides eternally new!
We know this new is not a fashion accessory to please others’ expectations or satisfy our own personal desires. Instead, it’s a display of God’s glory and power to never-endingly create a supernatural newness in a temporary natural body.
Afresh, He forms love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control where there once was none. And these new fruitful things are found within our own hearts because He chose to place them there, constantly renewing them again and again and again through a holy restoration within the objects of His affection.
In Isaiah 43:19 (above), God used the present continuous tense to describe His action – “I am doing.” This indicates the action is still happening now or is unfinished.
When He wrote this, He knew we would be reading His Word at this very moment, and He wanted us to know that His working of new in our lives goes on and on. This was true then, it is true now, and it will be true 10,000 years from now.
But if we are so enamored with new, how on earth can we sometimes miss our Father’s overflowing gush of new into our lives?
IT TAKES A NEW HEART
Well, the answer is in our perception. It’s in recognizing what God’s up to. In you. And in me. We don’t realize the gift of new, a new that we would love and adore if it were a purse, car or house.
I know that’s not the case all of the time. But far too often, I take for granted the glorious and holy work He is doing in me to fulfill His will – a will that comforts and secures me right into my designated position within the Body of Christ, new heart included.
“I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”
So it comes down to the heart spoken of in Jeremiah 24:7. One that knows Him and returns to Him.
He gifted us with a new heart when we called His Son our Lord. Can we allow the newness of our hearts to infuse us with hope and energize us with an excitement for living in Him?
Yes – yes we can!
But, you know, sometimes that old deceitful and wicked heart revives and we lose sight of the new work He is accomplishing in us. It blinds us to the grace covering of Jesus’ blood. We forget that the Cross of forgiveness is a mere (re)turn away.
Paul said this would happen when He wrote his letter to the Romans. He cried, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV). I pray my new heart and mind are in constant unison in answering that question with a resounding, “Jesus!”
HOLY NEW VS. WORDLY NEW
I’ll admit, I’m not thrilled about seeing sparkly strands of silver in the wilderness of my hair or the tell-tale lines of age on the wasteland of my face. And if there was a way to defy the incessant tug of gravity, I would do it in a heartbeat.
In truth, no amount of exterior overhaul to create new will ever compare to the sacred renovation our God can achieve when we allow Him the right of way to construct new within us. Because this inner work restructures our countenance to be that of Christ’s likeness. It inspires us to leverage our time toward revealing the new that’s in us as a beacon of hope for others.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).
IT’S YOUR MOVE
So what are we to do with this knowledge of new? How can we honor His dedication in providing us with new paths of hope and streams of grace?
We embrace the new. We believe that His good work has a purpose for our lives and the lives of others.
But we don’t stop there. Next, we must reveal it – share this new with others by telling them of the impact the Lord has made in our lives. God has entrusted us with our story of restoration; we must steward it well.
Do you choose to perceive the new within you? Will you be excited enough to grab hold of it and boldly reveal His work of restoration in your life to your family, friends or even strangers?
Let’s do this, you and me. And together, we will become a part of God’s great restoration revealed!