Being it’s a new year, let’s talk about how to make the best of it.  We have the choice of making a new and better start with the New Year, or we can continue in the same old, same old.  Which will it be?  For some reason, making changes in your life seems a bit easier in the new year, because it has that connotation of “NEW”.  But really, how easy is it getting used to the NEW?

First, let me say this; if all your life you have made very little changes, then change will not come so easy to you, but if you’re open to change, it comes easier.  We have eight motor vehicles. None of them have the controls in the same location, or operate the same way.  That means every time we get in a different one, we must do things differently.  Sorry, “one size fits all” doesn’t work here.  Each one drives and handles differently.  Now imagine this; you’re driving at night and you need your bright lights instantly, or you quickly need the windshield wipers, or you need to swerve suddenly, which one oversteers, which one understeers?  How about the brakes, which ones are touchy, which ones do you need to really press hard on to stop. Do it wrong, and you may have a wreck.  In an emergency situation you need to be able to act decisively, quickly, and accurately.  But where are the controls located? Quick! You have half a second or less to sort it all out.

I remember once getting hit on my motorcycle.  One second the intersection was clear. I had the green light, looked left, then right, and pulled out.  But while I was looking right, I failed to see a 1973 Firebird being chased by a police car running the light. It happened so fast.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw something big and black, and out of reflex I raised my left leg the instant before the Firebird hit me and sent me into the windshield.  All I had time to say was “SH…..!!” That was years before I got saved and I had not yet conditioned myself to say “JESUS!” Thankfully, I walked away from it after getting hit by not one, but TWO cars, with only some bruises and was back on another motorcycle that same week.

I said all that to say this: had I had a relationship with Jesus back then, the whole wreck might not have happened, but I was still living the old way, and the devil had on many occasions tried to take me out.  Let’s just say I had not learned yet about the “NEW” life in Christ Jesus.

In 1993, the devil once again tried to take me out, this time with terminal cancer, and the doctors said my time was short, less than a month.  Being afraid of dying and going to hell, I had just asked Jesus to save me, and He graciously told me to look up Psalm 103:2-3 as I got up from my knees.  That day was the beginning of my new life.  There were a lot of changes I had to make, with little time to make them.  The first thing concerned my mouth.  That’s right, my MOUTH!  I had to quit saying, “I have less than a month to live”, and replace that with “By the stripes of Jesus I am healed”.  That took some getting used to, to say the least.  Every time a new pain would hit me, instead of saying “Owww, that hurts!”, it was “By the stripes of Jesus I am healed!  Thank God for the Word of God!”

Who was I trying to convince?  Was it God, who made the promises?  Or was it the devil, who also knew the promises of God, or was it ME, who THOUGHT he knew the promises, but wasn’t really sure?  Yep, that’s right, it was ME that I was trying to convince. You see, I was still used to the “OLD”, and it took and still to this day continues to take work to renew my mind to what God said, instead of what the circumstances says.

Have you written any checks yet this year to pay your bills? This may seem off the subject, but it isn’t.  You see, you’re a creature of habit, and I’ll bet you’ve already caught yourself writing 2017 for the date instead of 2018, because YOU’RE NOT USED TO THE NEW YET.  In order for the promises of God to consistently work in your life, you must renew your mind to SPEAKING THEM!  If the only time you’re speaking healing over your body, is when you get sick, you’re missing out on your healing.  If the only time you’re speaking blessings over your finances is when you’re broke, you’re missing the blessing.  If the only time you’re asking Jesus to protect you is the second before a wreck, you’re missing it!  The only way you get used to the new, is by PRACTICING the new.

When I get a different vehicle, I read the owners manual cover to cover.  I take it out on an empty parking lot and practice emergency maneuvers with it, braking, swerving, purposely skidding it to learn how it reacts.  I close my eyes and reach out and turn on the various controls without seeing them, so when I suddenly need them, I already know where they are, and I’m not wasting precious seconds trying to find them.  The Word of God requires the same diligent practice as learning a vehicle.  No, I’m not telling you to skid your life out of control, but rather, I’m telling you how to KEEP from skidding your life out of control.

As I said, we are creatures of habit, so it’s very easy to slide back into old habits.  It is said that a new habit can be formed in thirty days. And in the natural, that is true.  But what if you don’t HAVE thirty days, like MY case was when I had cancer?  Then you have to really double down on renewing your mind.  And you can do it if you want to badly enough.  I guess it all boils down to “how much do you want it?

If you find yourself taking ownership of sickness by saying “MY ARTHRITIS”, you’ll never get rid of it until you turn loose of it and take ownership of “By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed!”.  How many times?  Until you win.  This life isn’t a baseball game with nine innings. It isn’t “Three strikes and yer OUT!”  With the Word of God, you get to keep swinging until you hit a home run.  And the more diligently you apply God’s Word, the more home runs you’ll hit.

It’s a new year, are you going to slide back into your old ways of gloom, despair, and agony, being sick and tired of being sick and tired and broke?  Or are you ready for some real change for the good?  Until you start down the new path of using God’s Word and BELIEVING God’s Word, you’ll never get used to the new.  Now I’m telling you all this for YOUR good.  I already HAVE mine, and this is how I got it.  You can’t do it “hit and miss”, because the devil will hit you, and he doesn’t miss.  YOU are the only one who can renew your mind to God’s Word, and let me tell you, God will not do it FOR you.  No, there are some things God will NOT do for you, and this is one of them.  You cannot even be saved until YOU make the decision to accept the sacrifice Christ Jesus made for you.

You see, God has MANY blessings available for you, but until you put yourself in position to RECEIVE them, you’ll not have them.  The first order of business is for you to put away the “old man” and get used to the NEW creature God created you to be in Christ Jesus.  It’s going to take practice to get where the instant the devil tries to hit you with something, you’re INSTANTLY right there with the right Word of God to cast the devil down.  Your “old man” is not equipped to win in the spiritual arena, only the “NEW” man is.  You are no match for the devil in the physical realm you’ve always lived in and dealt with.  The only way to defeat him is in the Spirit realm, where Christ Jesus absolutely and soundly defeated him, and handed you the victory, and said to you, “Occupy until I return”.

Your assignment of “Occupy until I return” will take some getting used to on your part.  The first thing you must do is decide you’ve had it up to here with your old ways that are getting you nowhere fast.  Get into God’s Word.  Study it!  Meditate on it!  Desire it and reach out for it like a drowning man reaches out and clings to a life preserver being thrown to him.  And you’ll find that getting used to the new isn’t so bad after all.  In fact, you’re gonna LOVE IT!