New Year, New Thinking

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

I’m not a New Year resolution type of person. Many people are good at it, but I never have been. I used to make resolutions but by March I’d fizzle out and either go back to my old ways or just do my own thing…which usually meant going back to my old ways lol. Now my thought process is just to work on continuing to grow and change for the better, but in order to do this I’d have to evaluate where I am at the moment and see what needs improving upon or removed.

Change and growth is a tough thing for people. It can be a lot of stretching, sometimes to the point you feel like you’re going to break. Yet God knows exactly how much you can take and we are more pliable than we realize. The fact is that we just don’t like pain. We don’t like to deal with painful things about ourselves, our situations or our past. We don’t like to get out of our comfort zones and change what needs to be changed. But in order to grow, we must get up, move and be stretched until we are able to handle more and have great endurance to keep running the race towards the finish line. Hebrews 12:1-2 states:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Corinthians 9:24 states:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

The stretching reminds me of when I make my sourdough bread. After I have mixed the correct measurements of ingredients, I have to do a series of stretch and folds on all sides, being careful not to break the dough and make holes. I do it enough to develop the gluten and increase the elasticity. Another series of folds I can also do is the “slap and fold”. This is for a dough that is very hydrated, sticky and messy (spiritually I assume it’s when we are a mess and God needs to be a little tougher with us lol). You pick the dough up underneath, gently, slap it down on its bottom and fold it over, stretching it out a bit along the way and repeat until it becomes smooth and pliable. It’ll eventually raise and expand and when baked in high heat, will produce a beautiful boule (round loaf) of bread.

We are the same. When we come to Christ, there is something to start with, then God may put the ingredients together, such as different situations in your life to get you to a certain point where He will work on you, mixing the ingredients of the situation and stretching you to a point you will be able to expand and grow. There is also pruning involved where he is cutting away things that are not needed or is dead so you can flourish and grow more abundantly. It may hurt and be painful for a bit but we have to allow him to continue the process because when he is done, He will have produced a stronger, more enduring person; a healed person.

As you begin the new year, think about what needs changing within you and pray on it. Maybe you need anxiety and fear removed, an addiction, or anger and hurt. Or maybe you need to be more forgiving, loving and compassionate. Whatever it is, bring it before the Lord so He can continue working on that new person that you are.

Let’s look at what God says about something new:

7Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…(1 Peter 1:3)

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 11:19)

Now let’s look at letting go of the past and what’s behind us and moving forward:

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It’s a new year! Put your foot forward in faith and ask God to help you shed the past, shed old ways, and shed old thought patterns so you can run with endurance the race that is set before you!