Every new beginning comes from
some other beginning's end.
Semisonic — "Closing time"
As several people who I care about are going through transitions of some sort right now, I'm reminded that God is a God of new beginnings. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God bringing people into a fuller knowledge of Him — and using them in powerful new ways — by leading them into a totally different lives that they never imagined. In the cases of Abram, Jacob, Saul and Simon this was marked by a change of name as well to make it even more evident that they were no longer to be the same as they were before. And by accepting that new identity, they were trusting God and stepping into an uncertain future.
New beginnings with God are important in two ways. First, we need to leave the old self behind. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) The old is GONE! Some versions say "passed away". Yeah, as in dead. I don't know about you but I have a bad tendency to hold onto that old self — to keep dragging it along with me while I try to take hold of the new goodness that God has for me. Instead of letting it stay dead, all I end up doing is let it get in the way and eventually drag me back to where I was.
A former pastor of mine once used the analogy of some product being advertised as "New And Improved" and how that's generally looked on as a good thing. But he went on to say that those two things — "new" and "improved" are mutually exclusive. If something is "new", there was nothing there to improve upon. And if something is "improved", then it's just a shinier, souped up version of the old thing. No - you can either be "new" OR "improved" but not both at the same time. And God is making us new.
Secondly, we need to boldly step out in faith and trust God with that new future that we're so worried about. I've spent so many years playing it safe that I look back now with almost a pain in my gut wondering how much more God could have used me if I had been more bold in my trust. After all, He promised us that He has our backs. "He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" (Revelation 21:5 NIV)
My prayer for this post is that I will stop hanging on to my old self and finally die completely to His will. That is so much easier to say than it is to do but it is what I want and need to do.
And just because everybody needs a little 25 year old tobyMac rapping now and then…