Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New!

I am amazed at just how much stuff three people can accumulate.  Over the weekend, we picked back up on a huge de-cluttering project we started months ago.  Bags of trash are off to the dump, and boxes of usable goods will be heading to Goodwill.  We are simplifying and ridding ourselves of the chaos and disarray that clutters our home.

If we think about it, life is no different.  We can make ourselves miserable, bitter, anxious, depressed, by hanging on too tightly to the wrong things: past mistakes, sins, regrets, feelings of unworthiness or uselessness, pain, anger, worries…

Do you want to know the trick to having a blessed 2012?  It’s no real secret.  It’s not found in resolutions.  It is found in the simple act of bagging up the garbage in your life and tossing it out.  Now is the time to let go of the trash that traps us and walk out our lives in the light of the freedom we find in Jesus Christ.

Are you hanging on to some sin you committed, held back by the belief that what you once did defines who you are?  Let it go! 

Consider this:

1.  …Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2  Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” – John 8:1-11 (ESV)

The judgmental ones were prepared to stone this woman for her sin, and try to trap Jesus in the deal as well.  But notice Jesus’ reaction to the Phaisees.  He nonchalantly stoops down, writes with his finger in the dirt, and turns the tables on those who seek judgment: let whoever is sinless and blameless cast the first stone.  Then he bends back down to write in the dirt some more.  Jesus was practically dismissive of the Jewish leaders.  Why?  They were not the true authority.  Jesus is! 

And how did Jesus deal with the woman?  Did He berate her?  Did He read her the riot act for her adulterous behavior?  Nope.  “I don’t condemn you.  Go sin no more.”  She was forgiven.  The slate wiped clean.  So, whatever it is that is keeping you from moving forward in discipleship, holding you back from serving or worshipping or life in general… let it go!  Toss it out. 

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:1-8 (ESV)

Now is the time to prayerfully change your mind, your outlook.  “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2, ESV).  “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34, ESV).

What is troubling you today?  Is it worries about what the future may bring?  Is it condemnation (self –inflicted or otherwise) holding you down?  Is it a sin you just can’t seem to break?  Today is the day.  Now is the time.  Bag it up. Haul it out.  Toss it. 

6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11  To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)

God is in control, not you.  Go to Jesus with your troubles and doubts, fears and pains.  Love.  Forgive.  Experience the freedom of Christ.  Don’t take your junk to the Goodwill.  They don’t need it.  Rid yourself of it by running to Jesus and casting it off.

25  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:25-30 (ESV)

Amen!  Happy New Year!  You are loved.

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