On January 1, 2011 I blogged about New Beginnings. Now that we’re a couple of months into the year, perhaps it’s time to revisit the topic. January’s blog was about embracing change because unless we embrace change, we miss much of what God has for us. If you’re like me, you probably did pretty well embracing change…for about a week (maybe two)…and then routines crept back into your life and embracing change began to seem like a lot of work with little reward. Let’s take a slightly different take on the subject today…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

Life Lessons from A Friend’s Old Car
I have a friend who got a new car. Prior to getting the car, he was driving a real junker. During the first few days of driving his new car, he realized that actions he had taken to live with his old car had unconsciously developed into habits that he brought to his new car. Habits like rolling down the window (regardless of the weather) and reaching outside to open the car door – because the inside door handle had fallen off; and downshifting early while keeping his hand on the emergency brake when he needed to stop because his brakes were pretty shaky. (We can all be thankful he got a new car!)

As he was telling me about how he had to unlearn what had become automatic behaviors, I couldn’t help but see the life applications. As we grow up we develop behaviors that help us cope with or even thrive in our world. It doesn’t matter whether your childhood was idyllic or not quite so, you developed behaviors that helped you deal with your life. As you grew into adulthood – stepped into your “new” life – you unconsciously carried those behaviors with you. As you met each challenge in adulthood, your first instinct was to apply those behaviors. They either worked or didn’t work and you either adjusted them or didn’t adjust them, depending upon many, many things including how ingrained the behaviors are, your personality and adaptability, and the quality of the mentoring you receive.

The cycle didn’t stop when you became an adult. As you “live” in any specific situation for a time, whether it be a job (or lack thereof), a marriage (or lack thereof), or participation in your church (or lack thereof), you are constantly developing habits and routines that affect how you respond to all of life.

Interestingly, science has found that things we learn or experience in crisis situations – actions associated with high levels of adrenaline in our body – are most easily remembered. I suppose that saves our lives many times. Unfortunately, it also makes it very easy to develop and adopt crisis situation responses. And most of life doesn’t require a crisis situation responses.

I am so thankful that in God, as we allow Him to shape and change us, old things pass away. All things become new. Some of those things that pass away are habits that keep us from moving forward. The habit of driving with our hand on the emergency brake passes away, for example – IF we pursue God and allow Him to changes us. Praise God I don’t have to live my life with these old habits and behaviors!

“But wait!” you say. “You still are living your life out of those old habits!” You’re right. In many was I am. And so are you. Scripture is clear that the old has passed and the new has come – the words are past tense. It has been accomplished in the heavens. So why am I still living life in those old habits?

Key to a Life Made New
Well, I think one of the keys is in that word we have translated as “passed away” or “gone” – figuratively it means “perished” or “neglected.”

One of the most significant keys to experiencing all that God has for us is in that word – the old has perished – it’s a done deal – God did His part. Now it’s our turn to do our part – to neglect the dead thing! Instead of hovering over the dead, perhaps celebrating the life it once had or mourning the life it took from us – let’s turn to the new that has come. The new that is right here beside us – actually inside us – Scripture refers to it as “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

Do you spend more time remembering what God has killed than celebrating the new thing He has done? The mourning period is over! Long over! Don’t keep rolling down the window and sticking your hand out in the cold to get your car door open! Yeah, it was fun for a while, but God wants to do a new thing and as long as you keep getting your hand cold and wet, you can’t experience how dry and warm your hands stay when you open the door from the inside! Neglect the thing that God has killed and nurture the new thing God is doing.

Tomorrow’s blog will continue our theme with a look at the verse in its bigger context. I really enjoyed what I found. Check in tomorrow to see what God’s Word says about the direction of our change.

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