By Chris Bates
What Is Newness to You?
My brother and I stood close to each other waist deep in the brackish river near Bristol Bay, Alaska. The scenery of the surrounding mountain range diving into the ocean was beyond breathtaking. We were fly fishing for silver salmon while our father watched from the shore. With every one that we caught I was struck by the brightness of their colors, the hook of their upper lip, and their absolute toughness, as we were less than a mile up from the ocean. After hatching and growing, the salmon were in their first phase in their new journey upriver. This was their entire purpose, and we were witnessing this new beginning in their life cycle.
As we consider our own lives, what is newness to you? Is it a second chance, or different way of living, or just being more intentional about the pathway? Webster’s Dictionary defines “new” as (a) having recently come into existence or (b) beginning as the resumption or repetition of a previous act (like a new day). Personally, I have had way too many birthdays to say that I have “recently come into existence.” When considering, though, that it also can be about the repetition of a previous act, it helps us to realize that New can come at any point.
We are given opportunities throughout life to start over. Sometimes those chances come at times of life transition like graduation, marriage, career change, divorce, moves or retirement. Sometimes, though, change into newness can come from making a choice and taking actions to follow. For those invited by Christ, which is all people, we are given the golden ticket for newness in Him. As people, we are given new opportunities just by showing up to life each day.
So, the ultimate newness comes in Him. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” The Word tells us that by being in Christ, we are completely new. We can repeat that as often as needed, which for most of us is often and for all of life.
In recovery, the phrase “one day at a time” is often used. The premise is that we cannot control the rest of our lives from where we stand at this moment, but we can absolutely direct ourselves just for today. Following is an A.A. Milne quote of monumental brilliance: “What day is it?” “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.” If we each stay focused on what we can impact within ourselves and around us for today, so much is within reach and becomes reality. By using the guidance of the Spirit that we each so badly need, then the direction that we take for today is within His desire for us.
Our mistakes and sins of the past cannot be changed. The old is gone and the new is here. Our walk as disciples is new each day. Look around and realize the opportunities and the newness all around. Easter reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice given for each and every one of us so that we can begin again in Christ. Join me in asking yourself how to best follow the paths that He lays out for us rather than our own, then get up tomorrow and be new in Him again.
Chris is President & Founder of Agora Company, a marketing, website, and advertising company based in Jackson, and can be reached at Chris@AgoraCompany.com. He and his wife, Stacy, and their children live in Madison.