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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 03/13/19

A New Attitude

meme-new-never-ending-wonder

STORY: Brand New

Does your mind ever start with a question, and then rabbit track?

I asked to no one in particular, “Where does the saying ‘brand new’ come from?” First, I thought of the word brand as in a business name, coming up with a new product. Nope. When I looked it up, it referred to a branding iron, heating up something new. Being branded required fire. Hmm...when something new comes to my life, I go through the fire, too! (Trials.)

Then I wondered about the phrase, “brand spanking new.” In my mind, that’s talking about the old tradition of doctors holding babies upside down and spanking them to get them to take their first breath. But sadly, it has nothing to do with that. I like my idea better!

What are you doing with your new thing this week? Let’s look at what the Bible says.

STUDY: All Things New

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV)

  • Have you ever experienced a relationship that ended? How much more does that make you cherish the fact that God’s love is steadfast and never ceases? What differentiates steadfast love compared to non-steadfast love?
  • Have you ever had someone say they forgave you, but it was obvious they still held your wrongdoing over your head? This makes you appreciate the fact that God’s mercy doesn’t have an expiration date. There are no take-backs!
  • How does God freshen up His mercy for you? What does it mean to wake up every morning and find new mercy?
  • How does God’s faithfulness to you impact His love and mercy for you?
  • Knowing all this about His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness, how does this help you hope in Him?

But forget all that — it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT)

  • In the context before this passage, the Bible shows that God did a work against Israel’s enemies to preserve them. Then we see here, “but forget all that...” What is the verse segueing to that is even more important?
  • While this passage is written for a specific time and people, how does it make you feel, to think God might be doing a new thing in you?

How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Galatians 3:3 NLT)

  • This is one of those passages we read and think, “Wow...that’s telling it to me straight!” Now how do I unpack those words to relate to what God wants versus what I’m doing?
  • What does it mean to you, to hear about a “new life in the Spirit”?
  • Do you have perfectionist tendencies? Even if you don’t, do you try to win approval of others through your own efforts? Or do you allow legalism from prior church traditions to sneak back in to your growth as a Christian, making your Christianity more works-based than faith-based?

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5 NLT)

  • Why is it important to emphasize that it’s not our good works that saves us? What does save us?
  • What are some of the aspects of salvation listed in this verse?
  • How does a realization that God has washed away our sins help us live out that new birth and new life? It’s important to note we don’t do that on our own — it is through the Holy Spirit. How does he empower our new life?

Ezekiel Passages:

And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 11:19 NLT)

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)

  • Let’s look at these two passages from Ezekiel together. Again, this is talking about God’s people (Israel) at the time this was written. But we can learn from it and apply the same principles as appropriate, even though most of us reading this are not Jewish.
  • When God puts a new spirit in us, what sort of heart transplant takes place? (And by the way, doesn’t this sound a little like the story of Grinch?)
  • Do you recognize anything in you that still is dictated from your old stony, stubborn heart?
  • How is your life different because of God planting in you a tender, responsive heart?

STEPS: Goodbye Old, Hello New

  1. Turn away from the old. It might seem simplistic, but we can’t do step #2 without taking care of this first. When we repent it means to have a change of mind, to make a 180-degree turn, which then influences actions.
  2. Embrace the new. God is doing a new thing in you — creating a new life. It’s time to jump into it more fully, leaving the old behind.
  3. Share the new. Telling someone else about the new thing God is doing in your life will help you have accountability when it’s tempting to crawl back to the old again.

Copyright © 2019 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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