As we transition again into a new year, I’ve noticed that there is always that one person who adamantly proclaims boldly, “New Year, New Me!” The response I have always given has been, “Why?” What is so wrong about your self that somehow you need to not only change but be “new.” To be made new is the supreme desire for every Christian who have read and believed God’s Word, but I believe that there so much more to it. For it is our past that defines us. It’s our mistakes that are the emblems of the scars on our heart that mold us in our wisdom today.
For New Years, I decided to celebrate in the “city that never sleeps.” New York City, to me, has always been larger than life! The lights, the people, and Times Square!!! New York makes my heart smile! While I was there, throwing out the old and ringing in the new, I had the chance to visit a very well known church. As I walked into the sanctuary, scurrying to grab a seat, I silently whispered a prayer. I found a good spot that was not too close yet not so far away. I began to lift my hands and close my eyes. Expecting sincerely one of the best worship experiences of my life, I was sadly dissapointed. I continued to sing but in my heart, I was like, “Come on Jesus!” As soon as I utter those three words from my heart, God began to speak!!! I listened. These are the words He said. “Don’t allow the atmosphere to stop your praise. Remember when Elijah used God’s fire to flame the fire that was abundantly drenched in water. Even when the elements that you have are drenched with sorrow, devastation, and dead things; know that it’s the fire that He gives you that will light the flame for your praise and worship. It will astound those who delighted in the sight of you and your dreams dying. It will surpass your situation and will excelerate and activate things in your life to come alive!!! You are a thermostat not a thermometer!!!! Set ablaze your praise!” After my heart became alive!
Soon after the Campus Pastor, who was filling in for the Head Pastor, began to speak. He mentioned how devastating 2015 was. Also with the loss of a child, he became broken. However overjoyed, He revealed to the church that He has a newborn baby girl. He then proceeded with His message about having a new mindset in the new year. He mentioned and spoke about past, present, and future. With full authority, he immediately lifted our heart with hope and challenged our minds to change. He emphasized having a renewed perspective. He also encouraged us not to pray to get out of the storm, but to pray to see God in it! While the word was going forth, I became reminiscent of the story of Peter walking on water. I began to visualize how frightening that storm would have been. Yet I realized and understood that Jesus was in the center of it all. He controlled the elements and the situation. Even in the midst of doubt from others, yet Jesus still called out for Peter. As the imagery flowed through my mind, hope began to flood my heart. Suddenly I realized that “new me” is not what I needed. As a matter of fact, “new me” would quickly become “old me” but possibly more worse. I truly understood that day the totality of Romans 12:2 which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— His good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
It all became clear to me. Instead of throwing away all of who you are, it’s so much easy to examine who you are. Then and only then change will take place. Thermometers are thrown away, but thermostats are essential part of a bigger system. Sometimes it takes a choice to ignite the things that we feel we never had. Then and only then we will discover true strength! Instead of you making yourself “brand new,” Look for God in the midst of it all. Eventually you will be restored, renewed, and finally “brand new.”