Days into the New Year: out with the old, in with the new
Let’s talk dumpsters for a moment. This is not my favorite subject either, but it helps make my point.
Take the honest bullet. You’ve taken the walk of shame. Out of options, you’ve made your way toward and then pitched non-biodegradables into one of those monstrous metal box beasts at the screams of future generations.
As stewards of the earth, adding to a landfill is heartbreaking for us (or it should be). Don’t blame today’s disposable culture or our throw-away society on our toss. You are responsible for your actions.
Now I’m going to hold you to what I just said. You are responsible for your actions. Whether or not a dumpster was involved, we’ve all replaced something old for something new. We didn’t restore, rejuvenate, reimagine or repurpose; we dumped the old for something new. We felt we needed to do this, or we had to do this.
This steps into what I preached this past Sunday, December 31st. In 2 Corinthians 5:17b, the Apostle Paul, who himself dumped his old self for a new creation in Christ, says, “The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”
If we’re skeptical or beaten down, we might think replacing something new with something old means the something new will only get old in time. This theory is the same one we face when we decide if we should or shouldn’t make our bed in the morning because we are only going to sleep in it again. Why go through the hassle of neatening something only to wreck it later?
Paul is talking about a process filled with grace which, in this context, I’m going to call ease or kindness to oneself. The old life gone for a new life beginning isn’t a roadmap for perfection.
Stretching this map metaphor, Paul understands that we all veer off course or get lost. Given our human nature, he sees that we sometimes fall off the map completely, or the map blew out the window and is never to be seen again.
(At least the map is biodegradable if it’s the paper kind, not an app on your phone. Fyi, please don’t play with your phone near an open window.)
Back to Paul. The Apostle is talking about a godly nature.
The apostle encourages us on a course of action where we dump our old ways, our old thinking, and our old being for something far better. That something better is a life for (and in) God. Impossible? On our own, yes.
But back to that map imagery. This journey or quest sure beats going in circles, or staying lost.
The number one reason I hear people keep at arm’s length from this faith practice is that Christianity isn’t seen a what it is—a practice. It ain’t perfect. The Christian isn’t perfect. Heaven help us both if you hear me on a bad day.
If you’re looking at someone else as your criteria for not hearing Paul, that same logic will keep you from picking up a gym membership because you see someone in a gym on a treadmill with some pretty obvious love handles who, later that day, is seen with powered sugar dusting his chin from the donut he just ate.
It is about love. All of this is. It is also about the grace I mentioned.
I speak of Paul here. l close with what he says in Philippians 3:13-14. “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”