All things new. It's hard to imagine, in the world of aging and decay, death and destruction, that all things can be new. Not much is guaranteed to be trustworthy and true today. But we long for a standard that doesn't shift, that we can count on. Trustworthy and true sounds like security.
We tend to get caught in a trap of seeking new things just for their newness. Even when we already have more than we need. It's all a matter of perspective. We live in a culture that worships the new. Everyone, even living in poverty, must have a new phone every two years, new sneakers every six months, and new entertainment every day. But God's promises tell us about renewal, refreshing, and a heavenly newness that is beyond our worldly imaginations. Better than a new iPhone or new Jordans. How can we anticipate the new year and look forward to novelty that draws us nearer to God's perspective on reality?
It could be quite simple. Perhaps we just establish a few new habits. And make them things that will refresh our perspective, renew our hearts, and remain steadfast, trustworthy and true. Where do we look for that?
One important commodity that bears the ability to impart new things, or to remain stable, is the written word. Our entertainment is carried along the moving thread of language. Trends and ideas, new and old, are expressed in words. Perhaps we can look to God's word that has lasted two thousand years and find some truth that is trustworthy and true. Perhaps that is the foundation that will support the renewal we are looking for?
I've found that in years when I commit to a new habit of reading God's word each day, in whatever time or amount I can, that my life changes. I learn new things, see new things, develop a better understanding of who God is. I think it is amazing that words I read and re-read, time and again, can continue to teach me new things. I reflect on His understanding of the longings of our hearts when he said "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
What this passage means to me is that His word might be exactly what I need today and the very same text might mean something different, I might see it with new eyes, on another day in another year. If I commit to reading the bible each day, I am renewed. I find the newness that satisfies my longing, at exactly the right time. It is trustworthy and true.
Another new habit for the new year is to accompany bible reading with daily prayer. Intentionally seeking God. I write my prayers in a journal to help me focus, and to have a written record, so that I can see when He answers. I ask the Lord to give me new eyes, so that I can see Him working in new ways. Sometimes I remember good times past and feel a longing for the old and familiar. But God's promise of renewal requires me to keep an open mind, and to trust Him. I've found after several years of daily bible reading and prayer that I actually look forward to my time in God's word, like a visit with a friend.
C.S. Lewis said, “we often, almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some other good. Harking back to some occasion, which seemed to reach perfection, and depressed by the comparison. But the new occasion is full of its own new blessing, if only we open ourselves to it. God shows us a new facet of glory, and we refuse to look at it because we are still looking for the old one.”
I pray to receive new blessings with a willing heart and open mind. I choose to trust that God is good and His promises are true. Deciding to believe that God's word is TRUE is a choice. But sometimes our hearts and minds can follow our actions. Try action. Read God’s word every day in 2017. Pray daily. Make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. See what happens. You might be surprised to be filled with the joy of something new, something trustworthy and true.