Stale popcorn–something nobody wants to eat (except me, much to my husband’s chagrin, but forget about that since it doesn’t fit with the analogy). Stale popcorn is the epitome of food that has lost its pizzazz. It’s almost chewy (yum), and feels a bit dead in your mouth. Like all foods past their prime, stale popcorn deserves the honor of the trashcan.
A week ago, we turned the calendars and celebrated a new year. A week ago, you might have smiled with the hope that perhaps this time, you would stick to that resolution. This is the year of rising early to read your Bible (starting next week?), the year of yelling less at your children (as soon as they learn not to test your patience), and the year of feeling better about yourself (once you get over the shame of failing to even start your other resolutions).
Let’s face it. Celebrating a new year can be difficult when what’s supposed to be new and hopeful and fresh only tastes stale. It’s a been-here-done-that feeling. A here-we-go-again experience. Resolutions are about enacting change for the better ,and change is difficult. I have no wise words here (confesses the woman who can’t get back on schedule after the sleep-in routine of Christmas break).
But I can offer words of assurance that it’s not your job to make the stale fresh again.
Okay, so that’s not entirely true because you are partnering with God to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 1). Sanctification and obedience do take effort. We’re called to train ourselves–
And there I go again, getting distracted by the work of faith that we are to do in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Because the part of scripture where God calls us to action, the work part, is the easy part for us to understand. It’s the do-it-in-my-strength part of scripture that confuses us because it calls us to set aside ourselves.
Let me say it again, it’s not your job to make the stale fresh again.
You can’t breathe life into the dead. You can’t take that part of your life that’s drier than Ezekiel’s bones and prophesy to it–on your own. That’s the Spirit’s job. The Spirit, which in Hebrew is translated life, breath, wind. You aren’t the Spirit. Is your name translated life, breath, wind?
So then, If we can’t work life back into those bones with all our good intentions, are they to remain sprawled across the valley floor? Is the stale popcorn of our lives destined for the trash?
When the apostle John had his vision of heaven, Jesus spoke to him and said, “I am making everything new!” And then John was told, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5). Why did good ole John need to write it down? Wasn’t the moment enough for him? No. He had to write it down–not only for generations of believers–but for himself. Because he probably woke up from his vision, looked around at his exiled circumstances and saw the stale in his life. Saw that he was still a prisoner. And how does one come back from a vision of heaven and find joy on earth?
By believing the words, “I am making everything new!”
Maybe you need to write this down today: I am making everything new! (If you have to add in parentheses that the “I” is not you, then please do so because it’s not your job . . .)
After reminding yourself that Jesus is making everything new, then ask him how he wants you to respond to his newness in your life. After all, we aren’t called to watch our lives play out in movie fashion. We do have a role in stepping into the newness God gives us. Even if it’s not imminently evident, because we do not walk by sight. Because what He says, He does, and what He does is forever done.
Happy New Year, friends. May you watch the stale of your life be filled by the new.