Stores are holding their post-Christmas, early January sales—as if the Christmas shopping blast wasn’t enough—hoping to get rid of old stock to make room for new and better merchandise. As I noticed the signs of this recurring phase, the mantra “Out with the Old: In with the New” sprang to mind.
A Good Slogan?
It’s a good slogan to live by. Or is it? I have often ranted about the need for building effective life and work habits, and for developing positive traditions. We all need some solidity in our lives—something we can count on to be there and work right. Like computers and programs that work right. Every. Single. Time!
On the other hand, change is part of life. Sometimes it comes unplanned—accident, sickness, change in job, a new baby—and our whole lifestyle changes. During the decades that my wife and I focused our lives and energy on translating God’s Word for the Canela people of Brazil, we alternated living, as it were, in two different universes.
After living and working for several months on the mission centre enjoying our wood paneled, tile roofed house, fully equipped with electricity, gas stove, running water, screened windows, privacy and comfort, surrounded by Christian friends, the time would come to make a drastic change.
We would pack up medicines, work supplies, equipment and goods to trade for food, and travel south 1,000 kilometres by road and jeep trails, and travel back 1,000 years in time, to our mud-walled, dirt-floor, palm-thatch roofed house in the Canela village, with kerosene lamps, outdoor toilet, wood cooking fire, water from the muddy stream behind the house, and surrounded by illiterate friends who didn’t know their Creator loved them and sent His Son as a baby to bring them eternal Life.
Yes, sometimes our lifestyle forces changes on us. And at other times we just have to follow the “Out with the Old: In with the New” advice because the tool is broken, or the old vehicle is irreparable, or our clothes are worn out, or no longer fit after the Christmas feasting (as in my case).
The Most Difficult Changes
The changes that are hardest to make are those we decide to make, even though carrying on as before would be more comfortable. A couple might discuss their marriage and come to the conclusion that although they are still living together fairly happily, their relationship could be better. So they decide to have a marital checkup or attend a marriage enrichment seminar. Slowly it dawns on them that their marriage could improve dramatically if they would get rid of some old attitudes and habits and change to practice some new ones. This takes effort, time, and hard work, but, speaking from personal experience, it is so worth it!
Jo and I changed churches this past year for a similar reason. We are now far more involved in the life and work of the church. New friends visit us and we visit them. We meet needs in the congregation, and they meet ours. We have a positive impact on the overall church ministry. Although slipping in and out of the back pew in the old church was dead easy, and salved our conscience, we had no ministry there. Now we do. The change was not easy, but it was good.
What area of your life could be changed for the better? Ask God to reveal things to you that need changing, and ask Him to give you wisdom in choosing to exchange them for something better.
After all He is the Originator of the “Out with the Old: In with the New” slogan. Check it out for yourself in 2 Corinthians 5:17. “. . . in Christ . . . new creation . . . old has gone, new has come . . . ” Remember?