"A New Thing Now" (September 2010)
“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18,19) In these verses God said that He is doing a “new thing”. I know He is doing a “new thing” in my life. Things are changing in me on the inside where my relationship with the Lord is concerned. He has also been doing a work in the lives of others I know. He is doing a new thing.
What is this “new thing” that He is talking about? For some of you that “new thing” is called the “new birth”. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3) The Bible says that without Christ we are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) He wants to give you a new life- a life in Him. He wants to exchange the life you are living- a life of death- for a brand new life- one that is eternal and abundant. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:28) He wants to make you into a brand new person. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
For some of you the new thing that He is desiring to do is to take you to new levels of “glory”. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) He is wanting to take you into new areas of ministry. He is wanting to take you into new places of intimacy with Him. He is going to be giving you new talents and gifts, and new ideas. He is wanting to give you new revelations and insight into His word. He is giving you a new vision concerning His purpose and call upon your life. He is also opening up some doors that He has shown you were going to open but have been closed for so long. There are wonderful new things that are happening in your life.
Then there is another group that He is talking about in these verses- these are primarily the ones I want to address. A “new thing” can also be a “renewed thing”. The new thing that the Lord wants to do in your life is really an “old thing” in the sense that there was something good that you once had but you either left it, it was taken from you or you lost it. “I will do a new thing”.
God wants to renew some things in your life. “I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Have you found yourself in a wilderness place? There has been no spiritual growth, no fruit bearing, no evidence of your salvation. You were once on fire for the Lord but that fire has died down. You have lost your zeal, your first love, the joy of your salvation and the peace that used to envelop your life. The river of God’s Spirit used to flow freely from your life helping to quench the thirst of others, but not any more. You no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness. Your Bible is only opened when you need a word from the Lord. Your prayer time is at a minimal. You just feel dry. All these are evidence that you no longer have that intimate relationship with the Lord that you once had. This is the root of your problem. This is the area that He is wanting to renew in your life-- your relationship with Him. When this is renewed, then all the other will be restored. “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.” (Joel 2:24,25) He will send a plentiful rain to quench the dryness of our spirit. “Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.” (Psalm 68:9) The fire that once burned bright and clear will be rekindled. You will be revived and refreshed. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
When did the Lord say He wants to do this? “Now it shall spring forth.” He said, “Now”. He didn’t say next week, next month, next year. He didn’t say when all the conditions are perfect and everything is just right. “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4) He said, “Now”. He said it this way to His disciples, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35) We tend to always look in the future for the move of God, but God wants to do it now. He is a “now” God. He is desiring to bring you out of that wilderness/dry place that you have been in for too long. He is saying that it is time to come out of it, and the time is NOW!
“Shall ye not know it?” When He said this, it implies that you can miss the thing that He is desiring to do in your life now. One of the saddest verses in the Bible says, “For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” (Luke 19:43,44) God visited His people through Jesus Christ His Son. He walked the shores of Galilee among the people teaching in their synagogues and they missed it- they did not recognize that “God was with them”. (Matthew 1:23) One night while on his way to Padanaram, Jacob went to sleep and had a dream of angels climbing up and down a ladder and the Lord spoke to him in the dream concerning his future. When Jacob woke up, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:1-16) After the crucifixion of Jesus a couple of His disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus and He joined them. Although there hearts burned within them at the words that He was speaking to them, they did not know it was Jesus until He later revealed Himself to them. (Luke 24:13-32) “Shall ye not know it?” So there is a warning attached to the verse to us so that we won’t miss what the Lord is doing like these who didn’t recognize it.
Not only can we miss it, but we can also hinder what God is doing. Remember the children of Israel? God’s plan in delivering them from Egypt was to bring them into the Promised Land in eleven days. It took them forty years to get there through. “There are eleven days' journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.” (Deuteronomy 1:2) They missed there “now”, it came forty years later. So how do we keep from missing it? How do we recognize it? How do we keep from hindering the new thing that God desires to do in us now? God is so gracious, not only will He warn us about something- such as missing what He is doing in our lives- but He will also give the solution or answer that will keep up from falling into the thing that we have been warned about. So what is the solution? It is found in verse 18- “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
What causes us to miss it is by remembering former things and the things of old. When we stay “wrapped up” in former things, we will miss the “now” thing. If we are still attached to things that are “former”- things that have already run their course, had their season, and are over- we will miss it. Often we keep trying to live in the things that are gone and over- former relationships, former victories, former eras. It is time to “cut the cord” and let them go. Let that person go- they aren’t in your life any more. Let that situation go- it has been over with for years. Let that missed opportunity go- you can’t get it back. Let that mistake go- you can’t change it. Let that failure go- it’s forgotten. It is time to move on. They are not part of your present or your future, but they will hinder it. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” (Philippians 3:13)
Remembering the things of old will also hinder or cause you to miss the new thing God is doing. Holding on to old hurts from the past, old pains and guilt from past sins will keep you from going forward. Attached to the hurts, pain and guilt is condemnation, bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, depression, resentment, anger, vengeance, grudges and the list goes on.
So if holding on to former things and remembering old things will cause us to miss the new thing that God wants to do in our lives now, how do we let them go, how do we stop, how do we keep them from us? The key is found in verse 18 in the word “remember”. As I looked this word up in the Hebrew translation there were three definitions attached to it.
The first means “to think about”. How do we stop the past things from affecting us? Stop “thinking” about it. Stop dwelling on the past- on what happened to you. Stop thinking about the time that someone cheated on you, or abused you, or mistreated you, or took advantage of you. Stop thinking about that time when you messed up or failed in a certain area of your life. The Bible tells us to capture our thoughts and cast them down. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) If we don’t capture our thoughts, but allow them to have free course then pretty soon we become what we think. Our actions, attitude, reactions and character are dictated by our thoughts. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) Joyce Meyers says it this way, “Where the mind goes, the man follows.” Your decline from God started as a thought. An addiction starts first as a thought. Sin that is acted out had its beginning as a thought- a thought that was entertained instead of cast down.
Each time you entertain the thoughts of those past things, they become fresh again as if they just happened. And it is a breeding ground for the things we named above- condemnation, guilt, bitterness and so on. So stop thinking about that thing. Instead start doing what the scriptures tell you to do. Capture your thoughts (2 Cor. 10:5)- stop allowing them to go over and over in your mind. Renew your mind with the word of God. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2) Change your way of thinking. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) It is time you started taking control of your thoughts or they will control you and hinder the new thing that God is desiring to do in you.
The second meaning was “to mention”. “Remember not”. Don’t mention it. In other words, stop talking about it- stop talking about those things in your past. The more you talk about them- how somebody did you wrong, how you were misunderstood, how you missed the mark, or whatever else it might be- the more you reinforce that thing that you keep talking about in your life. You also reinforce it or any wrong attitude or emotion that is attached to it. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) How does faith come? It comes by hearing the word of God. How does fear come? By hearing an evil/bad report. How does discouragement come? The same way, through hearing something that is disturbing. There is a principle at work here. That is why you have to be careful about what you say. What we hear ourselves say gets into our spirits and affects every area of our lives, either for good or for bad. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21a)
In the Book of James we are told that the tongue is the smallest member of our body but it is the most powerful one. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (James 3:5,6) Not only can our “tongue”, our words, that we lash out at others with hurt them but they do damage to our own selves as well. We can destroy our own selves with our own words. We can cut off our own peace and joy just by the things we hear ourselves say. We can bring fear and doubt into the situations we face by our words. So we need to stop talking about the things of the past, or any negative or wrong thing, or they will keep us from receiving the new thing that God is wanting to bring about in our life now.
Instead of always talking about the past problems, pains and mistakes we need to “replace” them the way the Bible tells us to do. Replace them with praise. “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1) We need to replace them with words of faith that build us up instead of putting us in bondage to those past things that we cannot change now. “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.” (Romans 10:8)
If you don’t want it to continue to hinder God’s purpose for your life then each time you are tempted to talk about those things, replace them with praise and words of faith- God’s word. Instead give God glory for bringing you through that situation. Thank Him for never leaving you. Thank Him for providing. Start talking about the goodness of God.
The third meaning was “memorial”. What is a memorial? The dictionary defines it as: A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for memory of something. How does this relate to being a hindrance to the work that God is wanting to do? A lot of times we will take the things from the past and make them the object of our focus, thus, we have made them a memorial. (These memorials can be in honor of bad things that happened in our lives or good things, like accomplishments and victories. They become memorials of either pride or self-pity.) If we aren’t careful we can wear the hurt like a badge or treat that victory like a trophy. We all tend to want to do that. We walk around with what I call “Spiritual Purple Hearts”. We wear our wounds for everyone to see. We talk about the spouse that betrayed us thirty years ago as if it just happened. We talk about the abuse of the past that we suffered as if it were still going on. We use these memorials as a crutch. We use them to help us over some insecurities that plague our lives. Without them we think that we won’t get any attention, no one will care about us, we will have nothing to talk about, or that we will be rejected and unloved without them. Once it becomes a memorial, our lives are wrapped up in them and we are then in bondage to them. These memorials are like having a ball and chain attached to us- they are with us everywhere we go. Then we begin to wonder, “Why am I so dry? Why aren’t those rivers of living water flowing from my life? Why do I feel like I am in a desert? Why do I only get drops of refreshing that don’t last? Why can’t I get to the hem of His garment? Why can’t I feel His presence, His peace and joy?” It is because you are weighted down by that memorial.
When it reaches the place where you have created a memorial out of that thing, what happens next is that it then becomes a stronghold in your life. That is why you can’t function without it- you always have to keep it close- and you can’t seem to get over it. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4,5)
Since a stronghold doesn’t just happen automatically or overnight, how did it get there? Go back to the verses in 2 Corinthians. It started as a thought that was not dealt with. “Bringing into captivity every thought.” After the thought was allowed to stay it made its way down into your heart. From there it started coming out of your mouth. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45) (Don’t think that you can keep your thoughts to yourself forever. Once they get down in your heart they will eventually come out of your mouth.) From there, as we said earlier, the more we talk about it the more place we give it in our lives until it then sets up a “throne” in our lives where it controls our emotions, actions, words, decisions, attitudes and so on.
So how do we stop letting the things of the past hinder or stop God’s “new thing” in our lives? You start capturing your thoughts and think on God’s word, His promises and His goodness. You guard your mouth by watching what you say. Don’t let anything come out of it that isn’t edifying. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29) You destroy the memorial. This is a little different then dealing with your thoughts and words because you have the power to control both of them. But a stronghold requires repentance. When you make a memorial to the guilt, shame, pain, etc., you are idolizing it. (And we all know what an idol is.) Therefore, it has taken the place in your life that should be reserved for God. This is why you have to repent. Repentance is what destroys strongholds. Repent of allowing it to stay and take hold of your life. Repent for allowing it to take God’s place in your life. Repentance will set you free.
God desires and longs to do a new or renewed thing in you. He desires to take you into deeper depths of Himself and into a more intimate relationship. And He desires to do it now. The question is, “Do you want it?” Remember the disciples on the road to Emmaus? Their hearts burned within them at the words of Jesus but they did not know it was Him- they missed it. Your heart can burn with the desire to have a closer walk with God, to have more joy and peace and for a greater love, but it takes more than the desire, it takes forgetting and letting go of the past and former things. And you do that by not thinking about them, not talking about them and not making a memorial to them. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” (Isaiah 43:18-21)