Most of us girls love a good shopping trip, right? We put on our “going out for the day” clothes, do our hair and make-up, and head out looking for something new. It might be a new sweater in the latest fall color or new jeans with the “in” look and fit. After all, last years’ jeans are so — you know — last year! This time of year the guys may be out there hunting deer, but we’d rather be hunting the perfect new Christmas party look.
Don’t new things make us feel great? I confess. I have two olive green tops in my closet that look almost identical. One is several years old and the other I got two weeks ago. I walked into the shop, tried the top on, and even said to myself, “I already have a top this color.” Never mind that. I liked how it made me feel and I bought it. With something new for fall, I was excited to log into my Zoom meeting last week wearing – you guessed it – my new olive green top.
Why do we have such a desire for new things? Maybe God wired us that way. NEW is where we’re headed, after all. In the book of Revelation — the last book in the Bible and the one that reveals the end of the story for humanity – chapter 21 tells us that Christians are headed to a place where NEW is the new normal. This is not an isolated New Testament idea. You’ll find the same concept if you look in the Old Testament – Isaiah 65:17-19.
Revelation 21:1-5 reads:
“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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 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. ‘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.’ 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.’
Every Christian is headed to a place where everything will be new. Our hearts do long for newness – but NEW is not just where we’re headed. The ongoing process of being made new is going on right now in every person who follows Jesus as Lord and Savior. To be clear, a Christian is not just someone who shows up in church on Christmas. Checking a box on a survey doesn’t make you a Christian, either. Christians are people who have realized their way of thinking, acting, speaking and overall living is not perfect – not holy – not pleasing to a perfect God. So they asked Jesus (God) to forgive them for all that has been wrong in their lives. And Jesus COULD forgive them because He came to earth as both man and God, lived a perfect life, paid the death penalty on the cross for everything every person who ever lived ever did or will do, and then came back to life – proving He was infinite God and had overcome infinite sin.
If you are a Christian, then you are in the process of being made new. The second part of Romans 6:4 tells us, “just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” And in case you’re wondering how complete this “becoming new” process is, check out the second part of Isaiah 62:2 – “…you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”
The Lord bestowing a new name is so much more than getting a nickname. In the Bible, a person’s name represents the entire character of that person. So the newness God is bringing is not only on the surface. God is working out in every Christian an extreme makeover – new thoughts, new plans, new purposes, new desires, new priorities, new personality, new emotions, new responses to life events, all new character. All the things in our past and present that are not perfect, not holy, not pleasing to God are being removed or transformed into beautiful, holy perfection. Now that is SOME kind of new.
Girls – when we go shopping, we’re looking for a new OUTfit, but the longing of our hearts is for a beautiful, totally new IN-fit. Our deepest longing is for this magnificent transformation — that God is doing in every Christian — to be complete.
If you’re not a Christian and you want God to start that beautiful extreme make-over in your mind, heart and habits – just tell Him. Ask Him to forgive your past based on Jesus’ death on the cross. Invite Him into your life. And be sure to tell another Christian who can walk with you on this exciting journey. Consider it a life-long spiritual shopping trip where you’re always getting something new.
Each time you get the urge to go shopping now, will you first take a minute to thank God for the exquisite new forever home He is preparing for you in Heaven — and for the extreme makeover He is working in you right now? Ask Him to show you how you can cooperate with Him as He gets rid of the old and brings in the best version of the new you!