“I got a new car!!!” I’ll never forget my first new car nor my enthusiasm and commitment to take very good care of my new car! I was massively devoted to doing the regular oil changes, using good fuel, doing a routine fuel injector and driving to loud music and the sunroof down to accentuate the cool factor. This car was really special to me because I had a chance to do everything right that I’d done so wrong with my first car.
The first car I bought had about 65,000 miles on it and was more than ten years old. It was a stick shift and the color was burnt orange – pretty ugly, but good for a sixteen year old. On this car, I learned about grinding gears because I’d never driven a stick shift before. I had no clue about fuel choices nor regular oil changes. I accidentally drove over a concrete parking stop but didn’t know enough to look at the oil pan for a possible leak, which of course became a costly repair after most of the oil had drained through the leak. I learned a lot about car maintenance on my little burnt orange treasure and I’ve put my mistakes and lessons to good use ever since.
I’d like to suggest that we could use the same strategy from last year’s lessons for this new year. Before we leave this year and close the chapter on this decade, we would be wise to ask Holy Spirit to teach and show us lessons and mistakes so that this upcoming year and new decade can be better or at least different.
When I think about a new start, it reminds me about Jacob in Genesis 32 and his experience of leaving Laban (his father in law) after working for him for twenty years. In this chapter, Jacob is making a fresh start in his life, having closed out the preceding two decades. In his fresh start, Jacob had an all night wrestling match with the Angel of God. Jacob was overpowered in this wrestling match, having his hip dislocated, but he refused to let go of the angel, who changed his name from Jacob (deceiver) to Israel (one who wrestles with God). With this name change, I’d propose that Jacob became a new person, in a new place and settled in his homeland.
Looking at this new beginning for Israel, I see that he deeply valued God’s presence even at great physical expense to himself. I also see that he let go of Laban and any expectations or links he had with him – he totally closed that chapter of his life. When Israel looked forward into starting a new chapter, he came to terms with the wrongs he’d done to his brother twenty years earlier and we see him walk in a steady commitment with God for the rest of his life, no matter the twists, pains, joys nor losses.
There are lots of lessons we can learn from the past and good lessons, if we let Holy Spirit be our teacher. But if we don’t let Holy Spirit be our teacher and just settle for self-education, it’s very possible that we could learn the wrong lessons. Additionally, no one knows you better than your Maker, so letting Holy Spirit teach you is essential to being your true self – the real you! As we finish out this year and decade, let’s make two resolutions:
- To let Holy Spirit be our teacher, being committed to learning lessons from Holy Spirit
- To stay committed to God, no matter what the future has. We can do this by taking one day at a time.
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Happy new day, Happy New Year, New Decade and New You!