There is something exciting about getting something new. Maybe for Christmas you got that new book or tool or kitchen gadget or clothing item. You have already tried it out. Hopefully it did not tear, break or get soiled…but it will because new stuff gets old. That is just the way of life.
So what’s new about the new year? Resolutions? How many really last? Fresh start with a new calendar? The days roll by and the check list grows, and it begins to feel like old hat, right?
Let’s think about this question about what’s new in the new year.
ANSWER: NOTHING. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” Well, that is a depressing note. It sounds like we are doomed to go over the same ground…again this year as last year. Does history repeat itself? Is there no hope of change? Is that what Solomon means? That there is nothing new under the sun does not mean that man does not invent, that he does not genuinely reflect his Creator by building and making wonderful new things. But think about this. Man does what he’s done since the dawn of time. He invents, works, builds, barters, eats, drinks, walks, sleeps, and dies. What leverage do these activities give mankind? One generation comes and another goes. Do we remember the greatest rage in entertainment in the early 1800’s in America? Can we recall the greatest athlete in the 1600’s? Does your young grandson even know the meaning of the phrase “like a broken record?” Can he even recall what a dial-tone is? Eventually everything is forgotten. That cycle keeps repeating. Solomon’s whole point in Ecclesiastes is this: Without God life is purposeless, vain, empty, doomed to many points of failure. The endless cycle.
ANSWER: SOME THINGS. Paul teaches us in II Cor. 5:17 that when a person is born again he becomes a new creature in Christ. Old things are passing away and all things are becoming new. Paul also reminds us that God’s goal is to change us and bring us more into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29). This transforming work is constantly going on in us and as we read God’s word and speak to God in prayer, the changes the Holy Spirit makes in our thinking and behavior make us look more like Jesus than the day before…and the year before! That is new stuff for us.
ANSWER: EVERYTHING. I love Jeremiah’s take on what God is doing in the days to come in all of our lives as believers. Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING; great is your faithfulness.” Imagine that. Every morning when I wake up and face the day something new from God is going to come down in the form of a mercy. Think of what was going on here. Jerusalem had fallen. A dark hour in history for Israel. Jeremiah the prophet is in pain and full of grief. Then he recalls the steadfast love of the Lord. It never goes away. In fact God’s mercies come to us new every morning, no matter what happened yesterday. That is what keeps us going. Today may be a mess, but tomorrow promises new mercies. It happens every day.
So what’s new about the new year? Nothing…Some Things…Everything. Never forget the words of Jesus in Revelation 21:5 “Behold, I make all things new.” That is our hope.There is a new future. God is in the business of making us new. Are we living by faith banking on God’s new mercies? Are we resisting or complying to God’s new thing(s)? Think it thru