January seems to be the month of new beginnings. We are all setting goals, thinking about how we want to make progress and dreaming of a better year.
I love new beginnings, the fresh page of a new journal, and the dawn of a new day knowing that it’s a chance to start over and begin again. It’s refreshing.
The Word says:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43: 18-19)
I am a member of a small writing group and our fearless leader posted this scripture several weeks ago, which I think was perfect timing for the beginning of a New Year.
Dwelling in the past is easy for most of us. And while I think it can be beneficial to reflect on where we are coming from (inspiring us to keep moving forward), what the Word tells us is that we should not dwell in the past – at least not to give it our full attention.
If we spend our time thinking about regrets and how hard things have been, we might miss what is just ahead of us. When we camp out in a negative place, it can interfere with moving forward.
Paul gets it as noted in Philipians 3:13…
“…But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
Don’t keep looking in the rearview mirror. Stay focused looking on the road ahead of you.
The rest of that verse in Isaiah tells us to not only forget what is behind but to be looking for the NEW thing He is doing in our lives.
Not old but NEW. I don’t know about you but I’m ready for some new things. He tells us in this verse that it is already springing up (it’s in motion) and we need to be looking for it.
The chance for new things is available – it’s happening now – we just have to be on the lookout for it.
Paul again reiterates the same thing in Philipians 3:13-14 – not only is he is forgetting what is behind him, he is STRAINING toward what is ahead…
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Pressing on toward the goal means he is not moving backwards, staying focused on old things or even standing still. I love the way he wrote that he is “straining toward what is ahead”- it makes me think he is working hard to get what is ahead of him. The Greek interpretation says it means to stretch out, to strain toward. I believe it’s the hard work of discipline to keep focused on what is ahead as well as reaching out to grasp onto new things.
We have to cling to the hope that is Christ and that He is able to make all things new. It’s available for all who ask – believers and non-believers. He is the God of NEW.
But sadly, we will never see the NEW if don’t rely on our faith and shift our focus from what is behind us to what is ahead of us and anticipate the NEW.
Maybe we find some new things out about ourselves. Maybe we find a new career or a new hobby that brings us joy. Maybe we find a new response to an old habit. Maybe we find a new way to communicate with our spouses. Maybe we find a new friend. Most of all, I pray maybe our eyes would be opened and we would discover something new about our God and His character as we press on in our faith. Pray for it. Ask Him to do it.
Much like Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where he said…
“…keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”
That is the best NEW thing ahead of you – knowing and becoming more like Christ in the midst of everyday, messy lives.
Let’s look for the new. Start perceiving it. Let Him bring some new things in our life this year. Some life-changing things for his glory.Look for it! He is already doing it!