By Alan Bailey
A lot of new things come into our homes around Christmas. Then a new year dawns. Very soon, there will be a new decade. Very often, the new brings with it some new joys, new experiences, new faces—and new problems.
When each day dawns, we look to the sky to see the weather. We read the paper to find out what's new. We watch ads on TV and view the latest products being marketed. In our hearts we hope for some new thing to make our lives more enjoyable and interesting.
A common experience
Have you ever looked forward to a new start? A new job, or maybe a move to another house in another district? Perhaps to a new school or college? Hopes are high for everything to take on a new colour, for plans to work out, for conditions to make life just wonderful. But somehow, it fails to come together. Strangely, the old creeps back. The problems haven't gone away; they slip out from the shadows and stare at us again.
So often this is the case with marriage. The second one won't be like the first. Not with this new person. He/she is just the right one—the one I wish I'd met earlier in life. Things go well for a while, but then some familiar scenes are being re-enacted. Old arguments, stand–offs and hurtful misunderstandings occur much to the surprise of both parties. Figures show that a bigger proportion of second marriages break up than first ones.
We are hard to convince
It seems to be written in our hearts that if only some changes could be made to our environment, our happiness would be guaranteed. Some more favourable circumstances and more favourable relationships would make all the difference. So we look for a sudden fortune, a lottery win, a new romance – some surprising new door of opportunity. But even when they come, we eventually seem to be faced with the same kind of emptiness we wanted to escape. The goods are not delivered—not entirely anyway.
Perhaps this is why we read of so many celebrities who admit to being unfulfilled. They have reached some point of achievement and notoriety and yet have an inexplicable feeling of emptiness.
Despite our frustrations, we still live in hope that better things are around the corner. No doubt, it is better to be positive and optimistic than the opposite.
A basic mistake
We keep forgetting that though circumstances may change, we don't. In our hearts we are the same. Wherever we go we take our true selves with us. It is more often what is 'in here' that needs to be changed rather than what is 'out there'.
Talking of things that are new, that's what we need. A new heart. There is something seriously wrong with the old one, the Bible teaches. God also says, I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart (Ezekiel 36:26).
All things new
God is bringing people to Himself and making them new. They are members of His new creation. They have a new relationship with Him, a new start, a new life. Their future is genuinely new for it is written, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone; the new has come. He makes the invitation: Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come, and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life (Revelation 22:17).
And when your heart is new, your outlook on everything else is changed as well.•