Across the Pastor’s Desk: Finding strength for the new
Published 8:00 pm Friday, December 30, 2022
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Ryan Quigley
With 2023 upon us, many of us are turning our attention to new things. Resolutions, plans and improvements of all sorts are being considered. A new year brings many thoughts of new beginnings, fresh starts and retries. The sad fact is that for many of us, the idea of new things gets trapped in the familiarity of old things. Resolutions fail because of uncontrolled old habits. Plans are foiled because of old ways. Those new beginnings we yearn for are overtaken by the same dead ends.
Sometimes we get stuck moving forward simply because we do not know how to begin, or what is worse, we do not know what new looks like. Many times, we refuse to go into new seasons because we are comfortable with our familiar old ways. In the book of Deuteronomy, the people of Israel are preparing to enter the Promised Land. They had attempted to enter it once before, but the people complained and rebelled (found in Deuteronomy 1). Because of their refusal the people did not get the opportunity to go into the new land. They missed many great blessings because they refused the things that it would take to inhabit the land.
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To enter the promise that God had given them meant they had to step into a new way of life. You see, the Israelites had journeyed through the wilderness for 40 years. That is a lot of time to make habits. Not only just old habits, but during that time they were completely provided for concerning food, and clothing. Entering the Promised Land meant they would have to work and be responsible for the harvests and clothing and more.
The thing that God tells them later in Deuteronomy 28 is if they obey the voice of God and carefully do all his commands, that he would bless them immensely. When it comes to new, new seasons, new territory, new year, new whatever, we can go at it in our own ability and hope that everything works out for the best. But when we submit ourselves to God, and his ways, something else occurs. It is now not just our own strength in play.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Every change in our own lives fights an uphill battle when we try to do it on our own. Yet, when we give our lives over to Christ and seek his help, and do things according to his will, though it may not be easy, it is no longer the fight within us that it could have been. The old things, habits, addictions and more, can be powerless if we allow them to be given completely and wholly to Christ alone.
This upcoming year, 2023, as we look for the “new,” the best place to start is in Christ. The Bible says that he makes all things new. What areas of our lives do we need that touch of new? Marriages? Children? Workplace? Church? The only lasting place of change for the new, can be found through Christ. What can Christ do in our marriages if we yield them to him? The same for raising our children, and the rest?
I have found that as just a man, I am weak and fallible. But with Christ, I can do all things. As you go into this new year, may you find strength in Christ.
Ryan Quigley is pastor of Albert Lea Assembly of God.