. On Sabbath we took stock of where we were spiritually 42 million heartbeats, 700,000 gallons of blood, and 8,409,600 breaths since this time last year. Since then, the earth completed another circuit around the sun at 67,000 per hour. In that time did your attitude get one year sweeter? Are you one year less superficial and one year deeper with God? Is your grip on the hand of God one year tighter or looser? Are you one year more filled with the Spirit or less? Are you one year more obedient to the Word? Are you one year more like Jesus?
Wherever you are spiritually right now, God’s word to you is: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isa. 43:19, 20). If you want to make sure that 42 million heartbeats from now you are in a better place with God, do not dwell on the past. For good or for bad—forget about it. God is doing a new thing, and to embrace it, you’ve got to cut loose the old thing.
In this year of experiencing Jesus, let the first experience be taking out the garbage of the past. This happens through forgiveness. Pray as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them.” (See also Luke 6:37.)
This clears the way for the new thing God wants to accomplish—completing the second incarnation of His Son in you and me. Rewind to Philippians 3:10-11 to see how Paul expressed it.
Paul wanted to experience Christ Himself, but how? The only way to experience Jesus is to follow Him. All that we’ve been talking about lately–the baptism of the Holy Spirit, having the mind of Christ, and the Word becoming flesh again—is a result of responding to Jesus’ invitation, “Follow me.” The rut of the status quo ends where following Jesus begins.
Nothing about discipleship says “comfort zone.” You’ve got to get out of the boat in order to walk on water. The life-changing, take-your-breath-away encounters with the Almighty aren’t in the comfort of the boat, they are out on the waves with Jesus where He’s your only security.
What if the new thing God wants is in the form of a simple prayer of availability? “Lord, let me follow you today to the one person you want to bless through me. I’m available.” When you find that person, you ask “What would Jesus do?” and then do it! Are you up for that challenge?
Lastly, if we’re going to experience Jesus this year, don’t settle for less than all God offers. Let this be the year of experiencing Jesus in reality. What’s the one thing you hear God telling you that needs to be different in your life this year? Not five things. Just one. Talk to Jesus about it, and then step out into the deep water of His new thing for your life. –Pastor Randy