May 2, 2021
Y’all, Joe told a small fib in his lesson this week.
I hate to sell him out, but…
Joe said he really liked to get a new shirt.
THAT. IS. NOT. THE. TRUTH.
Actually, he might have liked to look at new shirts, because he had SEVERAL hanging in his closet with tags still attached to them. But he did not like wearing new shirts…or pants…or “step ins”, as he called them. The more holes Joe had worn into an article of clothing, the better he liked it. I’d pull a threadbare shirt out of the dryer and quietly slip it into the trash. Joe would quietly slip it out of the trash and tip toe over to his mama’s house to ask her to mend it one more time. I’d find a pair of unmentionables with more holes than a slice of swiss cheese, and he would declare that he was just getting them broken in. He even kept strips of his old, worn out handkerchiefs in his glove compartment…in case he was caught in a situation where no toilet paper was available! 😀
The shirt in this picture was probably one of the oldest in his closet. But he sure was handsome in it, wasn’t he?!?
This week, Joe’s lesson is about loving new things and how that relates to our relationship with Christ.
A New You
The word “new” is a word that I think most folks like. There is just something we like about getting something new. Shopping is a pleasure for many folks. People like new things, eating at new restaurants, etc. If it is new, people will try it. I’ll admit I like a new shirt, and I am foolish over a new tool.
Some folks aren’t satisfied with all these new things I’ve mentioned—they want to go even further. Some people want a new look altogether. Maybe they want a new nose or tighter skin on their face. Maybe they want new hair or eyebrows or eyelashes…the list goes on and on. The point is that as humans we are often looking for something new or we are trying to make ourselves new again.
I’m sure you’ve heard the sayings “beauty is only skin deep” and “the new will wear off”—they are both typically true. Worldly pleasures do fade away, and as Christians our true joy is found on the inside, not on the outside. If we are not fulfilled in who we are, then we cannot buy, do or get enough “stuff” to fill the emptiness. The love of Jesus is the only thing that can really make us whole.
2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
Nothing we could buy could ever compare to actually being given a new start in life. Jesus promises that we not only get a new start, but through Him we become a new creation—we are forever changed. John 3:3-8 says “I am He who blots out your transgressions, and I will not remember your sins.”
If you are in Christ take hold of that promise today. Ask the Lord to make you new and watch how He performs a makeover on you—from the inside out.
My youngest son, Cameron, celebrated his 17th birthday last week. Much to the chagrin of the folks who live with me, I make a big deal of birthdays. Everybody gets birthday cake (or doughnut or biscuit or something) with a candle stuck in it, brought to them in bed first thing that morning, complete with a birthday serenade from every person I can wrangle together. Then, my sweet mama supplies the “good cake” whenever we have the family celebration. We party for a few days before and after the actual date of birth. HOWEVER…I have always secretly believed that we celebrate the wrong person on birthdays. As much as I love my Cam, all he did on the day he was born was arrive (in a hurry…the one and only time in his whole sweet life he has been in a rush). You know who put in the actual work that day?? The literal blood, sweat and tears?? You know who pushed that cherub out WITH NO PAIN MEDICINE?? It was ME. 🙂
And that is why I bought myself a present on his birthday.
I bought a new pair of shoes.
Granted, they were just flip flops, purchased to replace a pair I actually bought on his birthday when he was FIVE! They’ve been good ones…but they finally gave up the fight.
I look at this picture and realize maybe Joe rubbed off on me just a little! But they were SO COMFORTABLE. I searched and searched until I found a new pair just like them and was purely giddy when they finally arrived! My euphoria was short lived.
I threw them on and took off down the path, feeling confident these new flops would feel like pillows under my feet. By the time I hobbled up the steps at my back door, I had earned a bloody blister right between my toes. They were tight. They were stiff. They did not feel like the shoes that came before them. Not one bit. .
Joe wrote: Nothing we could buy could ever compare to actually being given a new start in life. Well, I beg to differ on that point. I think the purchase of those flip flops is an accurate comparison.
There’s a pretty important word in the scripture Joe references this week.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “…old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”
“Become” is significant. To become a new creation, in order for a life to become new, one must undergo some sort of process. Sometimes that process hurts a little. Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes it leaves you nursing a bloody blister.
Joe also said, “Jesus promises that we not only get a new start, but through Him we become a new creation—we are forever changed.” It is a comfort to know that when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we are new creations. That is quite a promise. Yet, I think sometimes we grow accustomed to that comfort…and maybe we even come to expect it. You know…you wear those flip flops for years. They walk you through season after season. They mold to your feet. They feel so good you sometimes forget you are wearing them. So, you don’t see it coming when the strap breaks and you end up on your face.
But here’s the thing–because you are a new creation in Jesus, you may land on your face, but you don’t stay there. Jesus picks you up and brushes off the dirt. He tenderly nurses the hurt spots. And when He sees you are ready (not necessarily when you think you are ready), Jesus hands you a new pair of flip flops.
Are you going to look back at the old shoes and wish Jesus would just fix the broken strap instead of giving you a whole new pair? Probably.
But Jesus knows better. He sees the road ahead. He knows the old shoes just won’t get you through the journey.
So, you slip the new shoes on your feet. They are tight. You don’t feel secure. Maybe you stumble a little. Maybe you bleed. Maybe you cry.
You may not believe me now, but you are never closer to Jesus than when you are breaking in a pair of new flops. It’s when your footing feels unsure that you reach for His hand. It’s when you cry out in pain that He reaches out His hand to you. It’s in His hand that you see the scars and remember that He once bled, too.
In time, the new wears off, just like Joe said. You may get to walk comfortably in the same shoes for years, or you may have to break in a new pair before you think you’re ready. Either way, you never walk alone.
My friend, I can promise you that the shoes you are wearing now are only temporary, whether you like them or not. One sweet day you’ll have a whole new kind of birthday party, and all you’ll have to do is arrive. Jesus has already put in the blood, sweat and tears. And still, He will be waiting with a gift–He will trade you those raggedy flip flops for a crown.
-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe