And the one sitting on the throne said, "Look, I am making everything new!" And then he said to me, "Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true."Revelation 21:5...."If we have not yet gotten to that point of laying ourselves on the altar before Him - without reservation - we have not yet encountered the living God." Chris Tiegreen
We're, as I write this, in the second day of another new year. As I contemplate that, I have to ask a question of both you and myself; just what new thing in the past year was He able to do in our lives? I'm not talking about a new job, new relationship, new home or car. His Word says that in Him, the old has passed away, and the new has come. What of the old, fallen aspect of your life has passed away, and what newness in Christ has come? What is really new, and what has remained the same? What new spiritual ground have we stepped out on, and in how many places do we continue to stand on the borderland of His promises? How much of the just passed year looked just like the years that preceded it? How much of the coming year will be the same?
The new year is always a great time for making resolutions, and we make a lot of them. We also fail to keep most of them. Why? Because it's so easy to make resolutions about our issues instead of taking the steps needed in resolving them. In short, we make resolutions about everything while almost never resolving anything. What have been our major "issues" in the last year(s) continue to be so in the current one. Why? Because it's easier to make a resolution than to confront the issue in Christ, and in His grace and power, overcome it, resolve it. Turning our weakness in the flesh into our strength in Him. As someone said, if we don't deal with our issues today, they will surely deal with us tomorrow. And they do.....again and again. Resolutions made in our own strength always allow us to slip back into our own spiritual lethargy. We keep standing on the borderland of His wonder, held captive there by our own weakness and fear. Only when we resolve in Him to take hold of the promise, do we enter into it, and we behold and lay hold of the victory that He's already given us.
Speaking of issues, what greater one could we face than that of the masquerade we can so easily be a part of? That is the issue of our masquerading as dedicated followers of Christ when so much of our lives are not dedicated to Him at all. We give a tithe of our money, time, talent, but we "spend" the rest of that in ways that we see fit. God has His part and we have the rest. We place some of ourselves on His altar, and then worship at the altars of pleasure, material things, success, ambition, applause, and self-fulfillment. We dedicate a few moments in pursuit of Him and the rest of our time in the pursuit of what most pleases us. Along the way He pricks our conscience about it, and we say we'll do better, but it doesn't last, and we slip back.....and the masquerade goes on.
There's one more issue to cover and then I'll stop. It's an issue each of us must face. We as His people must cease to declare that we wish for His Spirit to be free in His Church when we are not allowing Him to be free in our own lives. This issue more than any other is what has caused us to depend upon pastors and worship leaders to create an atmosphere that may feed emotions and make us feel like we're in His Presence, but in reality never lays hold of His Person. We know the superficial, we don't experience the supernatural. Only when we are experiencing Him in our moment by moment walk will we know the true wonder of what it is to gather together in Him. How badly do we want this? How passionately will we pursue it?
Issues. We have them. Our fellowships have them. You and I have them. Do they go on, or are they resolved? Do the masks come off, or do they stay on? Are all things really new.....or is it just going to be "second verse, same as the first?" Will the new year really be new?