A new year has begun and I am believing that this year will be a great one. God is doing a new thing in my life and, I believe, the the lives of many others, in the church, and in our country. As we begin to step into 2017, I am standing on God's promise in Isaiah 43:19, where He tells us He is about to do something new and has, in fact, already begun. I am standing on that promise for myself and my family, but I believe that it holds true for the church and our country.
For this promise to be fulfilled, though, something is required of me and of all who wish to see God do a new thing. What I believe is required is change on our part. The definition of insanity is to do things the same way and expect different results. If we want something new poured into our lives, we can't continue to do things in the same way or live in exactly the same way. We need to change.
Jesus likens this to someone putting new wine into an old wineskin. The wine would cause the wineskin to break and the wine and the wineskin would be ruined. New wine requires a new wineskin (Matthew 9:16-18). For something new to be done in our lives, we have to become like a new wineskin and to do that, we must abide in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that, if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. But how do we know that we are truly in Christ--that we abide in Him? Part of the answer to that question comes in Jesus' own words. In John 13:35, He says that if we are His disciples, people will see it in the love we have for one another. So, if we are His disciples, if we truly abide in Him, we must have love for each other.
I believe that another part of the answer to the question is found in Romans 8:1. Paul tells us that there is no condemnation for anyone who is in Christ. He then describes how those who are in Christ would live--they walk in the Spirit and not by the flesh. If we are truly in Christ, if we abide in Him, we will turn from the things of the flesh and live in the Spirit, following His Word.
When we abide in Christ, He can and will do a new thing in us. The result is that we will bear fruit, giving glory to God and growing His kingdom in the world around us.