When the New Year Doesn't Feel New

It’s inevitable. All things corrode, wear down or die. Atrophy and Entropy are the norm. We fight it through refrigeration, face-lifts, diets, make up and New Year’s resolutions. Everything falls apart. The apostle Peter, quoting Isaiah 40 had this to say about human existence in I Peter 1:24-25,

All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.

All of this energy is driven by a desire for eternity. We want to live forever. Something in the human psyche drives us to fight against the decay. The apostle John, at a very old age, wrote these words found in Revelation 21:1-7. They tap into what we know to be true.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Just a few days into the new year and you can identify with these two equal but opposite realties. We know we are dust and we long to last forever. This longing is there because we know we were made for another world. C. S. Lewis put it this way,

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

So how do you tap into these promises and begin to experience the newness that has begun in the coming of Christ? The clue is found in verse 6. Do you see the word thirsty? That is where it begins. Thirsty people are aware that they need something outside of themselves in order to survive. You can’t look within. The beginning of newness is not found within yourself. You have to humble yourself and ask for help. 

Jesus said that he did not come for those who were well but for those who were sick. Admit that you need a physician and He will be there for you. In John 7, he also said that he was the living water,

Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. 

Are you thirsty for living water? It is yours for the asking. Start drinking and keep drinking!

 

Copyright © 2014 Timothy S. Lane. All rights reserved

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Tim Lane

Dr. Timothy S. Lane is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Care and has a counseling practice in Fayetteville, GA. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), having been ordained in 1991 and a member of Metro-Atlanta Presbytery. Tim has authored Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace, and co-authored How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSD, Forgiving Others, Sex Before Marriage, Family Feuds, Conflict, and Freedom From Guilt.

He has experience in both campus ministry (University of Georgia, 1984-1987) and pastoral ministry where he served as a pastor in Clemson, SC from 1991 until 2001. Beginning in 2001 until 2013, he served as a counselor and faculty at CCEF in Philadelphia, PA (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation). Beginning in 2007, he served as its Executive Director until 2013.

In 2014, Tim and his family re-located to his home state, Georgia, where he formed the non profit ministry the Institute for Pastoral Care. His primary desire and commitment is to help pastors and leaders create or improve their ability to care for the people who attend their churches.  For more information about this aspect of Tim's work, please visit the section of this site for the Institute for Pastoral Care. He continues to write, speak and travel both nationally and internationally. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at several seminaries where he teaches about pastoral care in the local church.