January 20, 2015

The Joy of Forgetting

Isaiah 43:16-21

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”

—  Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you like new stuff? Many of us do. Part of the excitement for kids as they open presents at Christmas or on their birthday is that they're getting something new. Older family members may get excited about new clothing, a new vehicle, or even the fresh smell of new carpet in their home.

Yes, we like new things. But it's also possible to get stuck in the past. Some of us may have a nostalgic hope that we can recover the "good old days," and others of us may be locked face to face with a past we can't ­escape. Maybe we feel stuck by the circumstances of a broken home, or of sins we now regret, or of injustice that has been done to us.

Though Christians do not ­ignore the past, faith in Christ always challenges us to look forward. Our goal is not "change for the sake of change," as if new things by themselves could give us hope and fulfillment. But Isaiah reminds us of the only One who brings lasting change: "I am doing a new thing!" God says.

We can find joy in forgetting our past only when our future rests on the change Christ works in us. Because of the cross, we can experience the joy of forgetting our sinful past (Philippians 3:13-14) and pressing on as new people in Jesus Christ.

God of new beginnings, thank you for a fresh start in Christ. Help us to leave behind our sin and to live joyfully for him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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