As this new year begins I can’t help but replay the past year and make a mental list of what I wish I had done, what I wish I hadn’t done and the time I wasted. I can get so caught up in fixing myself according to the truth I’ve created, that I neglect to depend on the one who makes all things new. And He’s been at it every day, all day for thousands of years. As I look into scripture I see evidence of life change on every page, God pursuing the rotten and the broken and the hurting and transforming their lives completely. When God entered in, everything about their lives, who they were and where they were headed was shifted. Not only did God bring about life change but in many situations name change. The people who God was calling unto Himself were about to undergo such a transformation that they wouldn’t even answer to the same name. Their name identified them as someone, and they were becoming someone totally new, and upon new birth, a name is given.
I was once called stranger, I am now called a son. Once a sinner, now redeemed. Once lost, now found. And this transformation took place by a supernatural working of God; there is nothing I can do, nothing I can change, nothing I can work on, no resolution I can keep. I must simply surrender.
Just for fun I did a Google search for “How to change…” just to see what would pop up and number 3 on the top searches were “how to change your name.” Then I searched “I need help…” and the top three were losing weight, finding a job, paying my rent. Then “If only I could…” and near the top of the list was “if only I could make a deal with God.” We live in a world of people searching everywhere, even Google, for answers. Everyone is looking for change. Everyone is looking to be different, to feel differently, live differently. We’re all thinking about new years resolutions and how 2014 is going to be a year of change and quickly we start strategizing about how to get there. Just like the world we fall into the habit of thinking we can do it, we can change it, we can accomplish it. And just like the world we set ourselves up for failure because we rely on our own power. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as goal driven as the next type A individual. But sometimes I allow my goals to drown out the Lord’s thoughts and plans for me. I come up with what I believe I should change about myself, what I should be better at and what how I can become better individual. But what if the resolutions that God would make for us have nothing to do with self-improvement or a shifting of
habits or practices but of a total renewing and redeeming of the heart and mind.
What if the resolutions that God would make for us have nothing to do with self-improvement or a shifting of habits or practices but of a total renewing and redeeming of the heart and mind.
When the Lord promised restoration for the nation of Israel He was specific about what he would do for them as a people. “I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26), “I will spring clean water on you and you will be clean” (Ezekiel 36:25), “I will cleanse you from your impurities and remove your idols, I will give you my spirit to move you to follow my decrease and my laws” (Ezekiel 36:27). These things and more, the Lord was going to do for the Israelites, not for their sake (Ezekiel 36:32), not for their image or so that they could claim individual growth but for the fame and glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:36&37, Ezekiel 37:6&14) He was calling out the areas of need, sin and evil and He was going to accomplish the growth, maturity and change, and in turn He would be glorified.
The coming year can be one of an incredible change because we know the one who can make us new! I love the song “You’ll Come” by Hillsong. The song begins with lyrics that are the cry of my heart for this year and every year. “I have decided, I have resolved, to wait upon you Lord.” I resolve to wait on the Lord, to allow Him adequate time alone with my heart to change it, to give Him His rightful place in my life so that everything else in my life is changed, to hear Him clearly so that I move in the direction He’s calling and to look back on twenty-fourteen as the year that God changed my name.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
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