“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
January 1st grants us the opportunity to reflect on the past year and consider the new.
Each New Year’s Eve our family and those with us take some time to sing praise to God, to reflect on His faithfulness over the past 12 months, and to pray. Several this year spoke of the transitions that they had experienced in 2014. Transitions in life bring us to see new things.
My wife, who is a teacher, had given several caterpillar cocoons to our pastor’s children. Her class had studied caterpillars, and the holiday arrived as many were still in their cocoons. Late in December, because several of the caterpillars in them had died and began to stink, they were about to throw out the cocoons. But on Christmas Day, a few of the cocoons cracked open and butterflies began their struggle to emerge. True change comes in the midst of the old ways of life dying.
In the passage quoted above, Isaiah was speaking specifically about the change that would come with the entrance of the Messiah. The old religious system was dead and decaying. The new thing springing forth was that the Author of Life would take on mortal flesh and die, so that our sin would be atoned for and eternal life might emerge in us. As Romans 3:20-22 says,
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
Jesus was God’s plan to change all who would believe. New life comes when we put our faith in Him as our means to be made right with God.
As we start the year 2015, take some time to consider your life.
Has eternal life emerged in you? Let the old ways of living and the things you have been counting on to make you right with God die, turn away from those things, and put your faith in Christ. If you do this, talk to one of the FOCUS volunteer staff about it.
What else in you has the smell of death? No longer feed those things; allow them to die; talk with a trusted Christian friend or staff about killing your old ways. Read John Owens’s Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers or Kris Lundgaard’s The Enemy Within with another friend.
What former things need to pass away, so that new life can spring forth? What needs to change in you? Don’t confuse this with New Years’ resolutions. Read through the lists of the things of the flesh and those of the Spirit in Galatians 5, Ephesians 4, and Colossians 3. Highlight things from both lists that describe you. Pray that God will help you develop more of His character in you, as you “put to death the misdeeds of the flesh.”
May 2015 be a year of change for you!