A Year of New Things
By Dianne Neal Matthews
“See, I am doing a new thing!” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
Thanks to Christmas, we all end the year with new things—new toys for the kids, new clothes (not always the right color or size, but still new), new pounds on our bodies. We start the year off with new things, too—a new calendar on the wall, new bills to pay, and new resolutions for the days ahead.
Everybody likes new things, including God. He’s called the Ancient of Days, but He says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” God begins His book with the story of His creating a new world; He ends it with His plans to make a new heaven and new earth.
Our heavenly Father wants to do new things in the lives of His children. He desires to teach us new truths about Himself, provide new opportunities for ministering to others, take us to higher levels of worship and deeper levels of trust. But too often we’re like the Israelites when they were traveling in the wilderness.
God promised to provide for them by raining down bread from heaven six days a week. He instructed them to gather only enough manna for each day, except for the day before the Sabbath when they were allowed to store up two days’ worth. When some of the people disobeyed and tried to hoard extra manna, it became rotten and full of worms by the next morning.
I’m like that sometimes. God wants to do new, fresh things in my life and in my ministry for Him. But often I try to hold on to yesterday’s stale manna. I don’t want to let go of what is comfortable and familiar—some old way of thinking, a certain way of doing things, my usual area of service to Him. I may miss new and exciting things God has planned for me if I don’t fully trust His guidance, even when He seems to be leading me down unfamiliar paths.
One of the best ways to keep our faith fresh and new is to develop a habit of daily Bible study. God’s Word is timeless—old and new at the same time. Just as God’s “compassions are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23), a daily dose of His Word can give us new understanding, fresh insights, and renewed strength.
We can drink in the Psalms to help us “sing to the Lord a new song” (33:3 and others). We read in Ezekiel about God’s promise to give us “a new heart and a new spirit” (chapters 11, 18, 36). We rejoice along with Paul as he declares, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Studying the letters of Colossians and Ephesians reminds us that we have taken off our “old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:9) and are to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
If we need motivation to live like a new creation, God has provided two keys in His Word. It’s important to look backward to the New Covenant, the source of our salvation. We can meditate on Hebrews and thank God again that the sacrifice of Jesus made “a new and living way” for us to enter His presence (10:19-22). And we also keep looking forward to our future by reading Revelation. We can find comfort in thinking about the time when God will right all wrongs, heal all hurts, and give us a new name and a new home.
A good way for a child of God to celebrate the New Year is to let go of anything that has gone stale or rotten. Then we’ll be free to live each day expecting new, fresh things from the One Who promises, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5)
This Devotion is adapted from Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations on Questions from Scripture with permission. (Baker Books) © 2010 Dianne Neal Matthews
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Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. Her newest release is Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (Baker Books). Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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