Altar Call –
The remarkable difference of something new
The word “new” is a remarkable little word. We use it frequently and casually in dozens of ways. Here are a few examples: a new dress, a new idea, a new car, a new moon, new neighbors, new money, and currently a new president. But we can use it sometime to describe the remarkable value something can have in our lives.
Consider relationships for example. In marriage, when an ugly divorce is about to occur, a husband and wife can reconsider and agree to a new start. I know what that is like from three vantage points. One, I can remember the joy of getting on our knees and making a tearful new beginning with my wife. Two, as a pastor I have knelt several times with couples who were asking the Lord to help them make a new start to save their marriage. And three, I have many times witnessed friends forgiving each other and allowing their relationship to have a new beginning. A new start in relationships can create hope and restore joy that had been damaged by wrong attitudes and spiteful behavior.
A new attitude toward oneself can make a powerful difference. Failure can lead to self-despising that can spin into self-pity and misery. Not only is it important, and necessary, to forgive others, it is often necessary to forgive ourselves. While the Bible cautions us “not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought,” the good book also advises us to love ourselves (as we love our neighbors). The beginning of a new year may be a good time to give up self-despising and think more positively about yourself, your gifts and your good qualities. While it is wise to be kind to others, it is also wise to be kind to yourself.
Change in one’s character does not usually occur overnight. But it can begin with a new desire to become a different person. A man came to me in tears one day and said, “I am not the husband or father I need to be; will you mentor me and help me to change?” I gladly accepted the opportunity. Over several years I have witnessed with joy his progress in becoming a godly husband and father. Clearly the change has come as the result of new discipline and new zeal in fulfilling his new desire.
The Church, of course, has for centuries reminded us that trusting and following Christ enables believers to receive new life. The wonder of wonders is that Christ has the power to make the seeker into a new man or a new woman. So when we give up chasing the things of the world, and turn to God, we happily find new life in Christ. This newness of life is the most remarkable change available to anyone.
The new year is here. It is a new day. Ponder what you need most for your life to be all that you want it to be. Consider the remarkable difference that something new could make in your life. Could it be that you need new zeal for what matters most, a new vision, a new start in a relationship, a new attitude or the new life that Christ offers?
Today you can choose to pursue something new that can add remarkable value to your life. Go for it! + + +