Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New You

But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away
from their labor? Get back to your work!”

- Exodus 5:4

It's often the uncertain economy. Sometimes it's a midlife crisis. But whatever the reason, people from coast to coast are reinventing their life's work--and ultimately--who they are. In his book What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life? author Bruce Frankel highlights several remarkable individuals who turned their back on the past to do something completely different. Thomas Dwyer--a 70-something former U.S. Intelligence officer--joined a dance troupe. And then there's Deborah Jack, who left her two-decade-long career in financial publishing after a layoff...and went into business for herself with a Fetch! Pet Care franchise.

"As much as I loved my Wall Street clients, they never jumped up and down when I walked in the door the way my clients do now," Deborah says. "This is a great business. I never have any bad days."

But perhaps one of the biggest change stories of all involves Fife Symington. In 1997, the former two-term governor of Arizona was convicted on seven counts of bank and wire fraud, and sentenced to 30 months in prison and five years of probation. Although a federal appeals court overturned his convictions and he received a presidential pardon, Symington abandoned politics, graduated from culinary school and became an accomplished pastry chef!

These success stories are nothing less than inspirational. But even so, many folks avoid new things--particularly as they get older. However, big changes can reap even bigger rewards. And as the saying goes, people often don't see the light until they feel the heat.

You won't find any arguments about that in the Bible. In Genesis, we read that God told Abraham--who was an old man at the time--to leave his beloved country for a far-off land. And because he obeyed, Abraham became the father of Israel. Moses also had a midlife crisis that drastically altered his career path. Raised within the Egyptian royal family, he fled the country after killing a cruel taskmaster, and spent the next several decades in anonymity as a shepherd. But God never forgot Moses. And He used His unlikely servant to switch gears yet again. This time, it was for Moses' return to Egypt to tell the Pharaoh--the world's most powerful ruler--to set God's people free.

God may or may not call you to make drastic changes to your career or address. But He does call on everyone to make a profound spiritual change--one that lets us see through His eyes and take on His perspective. As Jesus puts it, we all must be born again.

The word-picture the Apostle Paul paints in the Book of Ephesians is that we must strip off the old self and put on the new--much like exchanging filthy rags for a beautiful new set of clothes. But how do we do that? It all begins by admitting that we're fatally flawed individuals who can do nothing on our own to save ourselves from the punishment we deserve. And the next step is to acknowledge through faith that the only One who can save us is Jesus Christ-- the One who died in our place to pay for our sins in full. After all, we can never be good enough or follow a set of rules to meet His impossibly-high standards. It's only through Jesus Himself that we can become a new creation.

The timing of this crucial truth is hardly coincidental. So as we approach the New Year, let's do more than make half-hearted resolutions about changing for the better. Let's start 2012 with a new attitude...and a new Spirit. It's real change we can live with.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" God asks. "I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

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