I hate to admit it, but I love new things. I love new adventures, new clothes, new household items, new cars, and new ideas. What is it about something new that is so enticing? New does not appeal to everyone, but I know I’m not alone in this fascination for things that are new. Just look at what makes our economy grow – the desire for new. In fact, Americans are so infatuated with new that we rarely keep old buildings, especially if they’re less than 50-60 years old. We tear down the old and replace it with a new building with the expectation it will be torn down in another 30 years or so. Do we really build strip malls with the idea of how they will stand the test of time? I don’t think so. We are focused on the new that will give a reward today.
It’s ironic that our desire for new is actually old! Athens, Greece in the 1st century was consumed with the new just like we are. Consider Acts 17:21, “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” When we become consumed with our own thoughts we become prey to the new rather than the sublime, the shiny rather than the precious, the fleeting rather than the lasting. Perhaps our preoccupation with the new has resulted in the rise of atheism and secularism as there is no room for God who is old. After all, the Bible teaches there is “nothing new under the sun.” (See Ecclesiastes 1:9) We can’t have a thought that is new to God! As much as we want to be new, original, unique, we are really all the same. In my travels I have noticed that people are the same in Asia as they are in South America as they are in Europe as they are in our own country. It’s still true that we need to study history or else we are doomed to repeat it.
And yet there is a deeper truth in our desire to have, find, and know the new. In Acts 18:21 Paul says, “I will return to you if God wills.” Think of it. Paul was on an adventure we call his “missionary journeys.” He didn’t know where He would be next year or even the next week because he followed God’s will. Now that makes each day NEW! Paul’s itinerary was new each day because his life had been made new when he submitted his will to God’s will. In 1 Corinthians 15:31 Paul declared that he died every day. So he was a new man every day. Yes, our desire for the new is a spiritual longing put in our hearts by God. I don’t know about you, but I am determined to seek God’s new rather than man’s. The next time you want something new, my advice is to first experience the newness of God’s will for you in that moment. There’s nothing as new as that!