I like new things. Why do I like a new thing? Because no one else has used it…presumably. I like new cars (even when I was stupid enough to buy them). I like new homes (I’ve never been able to buy those). I like new shoes and new clothes (even if they are the cheap brands). I’m not attracted to fancy. I just love “new!” I love new sponges, new towels, new pianos, new computers, new lawn mowers, new laundry machines and new kitchen appliances. What is weird is that I also love antiques…but that’s another article.
If you like new stuff, you probably figured out that it can be a pretty pricey pursuit; which is why we look for sales everywhere we can. When we can’t afford the sales, we are often willing settle for a “replica.” If it gives us almost the same feeling as the “original” new, we’re okay with that. We buy deodorizers and scents which help our cars, our homes, and our clothes smell brand new. There is no getting around the fact that we love new.
You know what’s really cool? God likes new. When I think about that truth, I realize why billions of us love new, long for new and hope for new. We are created in God’s image and God loves new. This gives me a lot of assurance. We need new in this world of broken lives, confused thinking, and worn out promises. So, where is the new! God said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)* I don’t think He was referring to spring and summer with new flowers, new grass and new leaves. Yes, there is new life happening all over creation in hospitals, in valleys, in forests, in oceans and new sunrises and sunsets happening every moment of everyday somewhere across the world. That is one kind of new; but that is not the kind of new God is talking about. God is talking about a new that never gets old. Now that is something to think about.
Where do we see that kind of “new” that stays new?” If you are a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, that kind of “new” is in you! “When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)*How can this be? I don’t feel new. Well, thankfully, the change that has happened to us is not marked or measured by feelings. If that were the case, every morning I would think I’m old and getting older, and every time I ate a bowl of ice cream I would feel new again. This truth is not based upon how our body feels nor how we feel about life. This “new” is based upon a change which took place in our personhood; the “who I am that makes me, me” part of us.
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus, who came from heaven, existed in heaven without beginning or end, comes to earth and tells people, “No one can see God’s kingdom unless they are born again.”(John 3:3)* Obviously, He is not talking about going into our mother’s womb to be born again. He is talking about our identity, our personhood being born again. Our inner self must become “new.” How did our inner self (our heart and mind) become new? When we believed. When we figured out that Jesus was in truth, God’s Son Jesus from heaven and decided to obey everything God was saying through His Son. When we decided to believe in God something new happened within us. But something else happened. We decided to reject something old; something broken. And remember, when God makes something new…He is not rehabilitating the old. God doesn’t take old and make new. He “creates” brand new; a new that never dies. The new in us is brand new.
Unfortunately, I spent too many years trying to make my “old self” into the “new self.” I had tremendous “limited” success. What I mean by that is, I never truly experienced “the new.” I only experienced moments of the new, and then found myself repeating the sinful behavior and attitudes I was trying to quash. I could behave well and push my old thoughts into the closets of my mind when guests were over or when it was time to go to church or teach a bible study. But when the guests were gone…the old self would creep in through the shadows, and there I was, fighting my old self; slapping it around and trying to get rid of it. I blamed the weakness of my feelings for the return of these enemies. I blamed my past or the current situation. Sometimes I would rationalize that I’m just a “sinner” who is forgiven. In the end, no matter how pure I tried to be, I always felt I was insincere, a hypocrite, and stuck with living a defeated life. At some point, I don’t know when, I decided I didn’t need my old life and it didn’t do me any good at all to try to manage it. I decided to let go of the “old.” This began to change everything for me.
It took a lot of time and a great deal of emotional pain through broken circumstances in my life for God to get me to see that I could never make my old self into a new self. I have to live in the new that I have been given, and let go of the old. The Bible calls my old self the carnal nature, the flesh, or the law of sin and death in me. I call it the lie. Apparently God understood that my old self needs to be thought of and lived as if it were dead so that my new self could live and exist with Him. The Bible teaches:
“I have been crucified with Christ. I don’t live any longer, but Christ lives in me. Now I live my life in my body by faith in the Son of God. He loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)*
“So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your desires controlled by sin want you to do.” (Galatians 5:16)*
Am I a slow learner? Yes…and no. I think I wanted to make my old life work better. Looking back, I can see that I really didn’t want to let go of every bad thing the old nature had to offer. I have learned that my old broken self can never be fixed. It is completely corrupted, through and through. Thankfully, God knew that it would be hard for me to fully embrace the new. He knew it would take some time and some major pain and frustration for me to learn to let go of the old nature, and to grow into the completeness that comes with being brand new. Today, I like the new very much. I think I’ll keep it.