Did you know you were made for new? Who doesn’t love NEW? Recently people bought lottery tickets by the millions. Why? We want new. We want a new cars, new houses, new wardrobes, new experiences. We all want new. I’m packing for a trip to Florida, and ya’ll, I need a new wardrobe! If someone could take away all my current clothes and replace them with new and updated ones, I’d be happy. Even if you insist you like old – what you really want is a few old things surrounded…..by NEW! That is what “Fixer Upper” is all about! We want new. And do you know what? You were made for new.
How do I know? The Bible says in Revelation that when Jesus comes back to this earth, He will make all things new. John is seeing this new thing that will happen:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
We are longing for new because one day we will live in a place where all things will be made new!
But that day is not today. So how do we experience new today? It’s through sanctification. Yes, that’s kinda a big, churchy word. The latin word sanctus means “holy”. It means God is making us holy, or set apart and more like Jesus. We are being made new everyday if we follow Jesus! (2 Corinthians 4:16) John Piper defines sanctification as “progressively becoming like Jesus.”
One of the ways God sanctifies us is through change. Change is all around us and we are all going through changes in life all the time. Change might be a good thing – you’ve gotten a raise or you’ve been accepted into a program or you’ve lost weight. And because of these changes you praise God and maybe come to look a little more like Jesus.
But change can be difficult, too. Change can involve suffering. We have negative changes in our bank statements, or the winning team is suddenly losing. We have a change in our health (or in the health of someone we love) or a child leaves for college and there’s change. Of course disease, death, divorce, debt, and depression all bring about change. More often than not, God sanctifies through suffering.
I’m going through a change right now. We moved to Charlotte over 10 years ago to begin a ministry and God has seen us through lots of changes – mostly good. I’ve seen God work in my life in so many ways! He’s been sanctifying me, for sure. I praise Him for that – praise Him for His faithful sanctification in me. Now it’s time for another big change for us. We feel God is moving us to Little Rock where we’ll be working full-time with FamilyLife. And this change is hard. We love our family, our friends, our church, our school and our neighborhood. We love the state of North Carolina and close access to both beach and the mountain. And for heaven’s sake: Go Panthers! We love it here. But we also know that God sanctifies us through change. I know there will be times when I ache for the familiar: friends, family, church. But doesn’t God want to be my all? I know I will miss the little things like Trader Joe’s and Costco. But do I need grocery stores to make me happy? Ok, maybe I do, but do you see how all these changes can draw me to Him and make me more like Jesus? I am determined to partner with Him in the changes He wants to make in my life.
Think about a change you are going through right now. Go ahead. Say them out loud.
(our son got a scholarship)
(life without my mom)
(we love our new house)
If it’s a good one: great! Praise God. Usually this is the time where we tend to forget God. Ask Him to sanctify you through even the good changes.
If it’s a difficult change, the advice is the same: Praise God. Look to Him as your comfort and peace and know that he wants to sanctify you. How could you partner with Him to do that?
You were made for new. In this world things are deteriorating. You drive a new car off the lot and it immediately is worth less. You get new clothes and inevitably you get a grease stain or in a month you’ll realize they don’t really flatter you. Our bodies age and fail us. While we are called to live humble and simple lives here on earth, God has put those desires, the desire of new things, in us for a reason: you were made for heaven. One day all things will be new! He’ll wipe away every tear, no more mourning or pain. This is our hope.
If you find yourself longing for the new: a new friend, a new car or home, a new body, a new relationship…pause and realize God eventually will fill those desires. But here on earth those things are not His goal. His goal is our sanctification. What he really wants to give us now is new patience, new self-control, new kindness, a new contentment, a new heart. You were made for new, friend, and it’s coming soon! But hold on for today, for God making you new right now through your change.