It is time to for something different and new.
The new can represent new opportunities, new disciplines, new relationships; the list could go on and on. Sometimes the new is scary and exciting at the same time. Along with facing the new are the emotions that come with it. Some of the new happenings are surrounded with the disappointment of what didn't work out or the loss of someone very close to your heart. My mom entered heaven recently and there is so much new that I am surrounded with, but it certainly wasn't of my choosing. Life can be hard at times and having God in the center does not mean life becomes easy, but it does mean we don't have to go it alone. The Apostle Paul reminds us that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. I would not make it without the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am thankful each day for His grace that lifts me above the problems and difficult circumstances.
To face the new there is much we can learn from Paul. His name was Saul, a hater of Christians, before he knew Jesus. Saul had led the people to kill those who had embraced Christ and his teachings. But then Paul received a new identity in the Lord. Paul's heart and call changed and everything in his life was new. He had a new mindset when he decided to forget some old things before he could go forth reaching for the new things. Paul said in Phil 3:13,14, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
Paul had to do some forgetting before he did some reaching. Sometimes our reach is not quite what it could be when we have something hindering us. I believe with Paul forgetting what was behind, he was leaving some emotional strongholds so that he could go into the next place that God had for him. I am amazed at how Paul was so liberated in his walk with God. He could declare to the people that he had wronged no man and yet in that same audience were the relatives of the ones he had murdered in his past life. (See 2 Cor.7:2) Now that is being free of the sins of the past! None of us really forget, but by Paul forgetting he was saying I am not going to live in the past being defined by the man I used to be. His new identity was coming forth now and he was going to reach for the greater call that the Lord had for him.
Breaking free of the familiar
Each of us has a greater call that the Lord chose for us before time began. The enemy of your soul wants you to continue with the old patterns and strongholds so that you won't live life abundantly like Jesus has promised for you. Paul made his choice and you must make your choice. Leaving the old many times means leaving good things. Growth demands being stretched and living with new insight, vision and thoughts. New seasons are demanding in that the new requires new thinking and different behaviors. God is always after your growth. When a child is in a particular grade in school, he is used to that classroom and the schedule. The child cannot stay in that grade even though he is familiar with it and doesn't want to change. Growth demands that the child faces new surroundings even though it is scary. This is how growth happens - you won't be free of feeling afraid at times or being anxious over the unknown, but you must decide to push through or you will not be able to enjoy what is in the next season of your life. The Bible teacher, Joyce Meyer, says "Do it afraid." There are some things we just have to do in spite of what we feel.
Being released of strongholds
A stronghold is something that holds your emotions, your thoughts, and behaviors in an old place. Strongholds take hold in the soul, and many don't even know they are bound. The Lord never intended for Paul to remain in behavior as Saul. As Paul broke away from the past, and faced new, he had to have strongholds of the past broken. 2 Cor.10:4,5 promises us, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." You might have an anger problem and the way you deal with it is that you pout or lash out at others. That behavior won't work for you in this new season. That is a stronghold that wants to keep you from becoming excellent. It is time for your new identity to come forth and bring your thoughts and behavior into a new place of obedience to Christ. A problem arises when you expect everyone else to deal with your behavior instead of you growing up into a new identity. If you don't submit to God in dealing with the old emotional patterns, then you cannot develop new healthy ones. It is time to grow up, go into a new level, and break from what you have always known.
It is time to reach for the key
To effectively press towards your destiny means you must receive the love of God. The love of God is the key to going through the new door. The love that God gives will break every stronghold if you will receive it. Faith works by love. Emotional strongholds of dysfunction keep us from receiving and giving love. That is Satan's tactic so that we won't really believe that God wants the best for us or that He even loves us. In the garden the devil went to Eve to cause her to believe a lie about the love of God. The devil was suggesting to Eve that God was withholding something from her. The devil still uses that on people today. Many have an emotional blockage of false beliefs that hinder a flow of love. Paul spoke often about receiving the revelation of God's love. Love moves us into new levels of faith, believing and doing greater things than we ever imagined. In Eph. 3: 16-19 it says, "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!"
The late minister, Jack Frost said, "God wants to change everything in me not comfortable with His love." A good prayer to pray this season is this, "Lord, remove everything in me not comfortable with your love." The only way Paul had confidence to stand in front of the people and preach Christ is because he knew the love of God. Receiving and responding to His love releases you to be who you are. The creativity and function of your call will come forth at a new level of acceleration. You will have confidence and courage where you used to be fearful and locked into the old identity. You will see in new ways and your worship will change. Living life with gratitude and praise will change you and will change those around you. It is time to graduate and go up a grade, change schools, change your address, release yourself from old habits and pray that prayer, and see what new God has for you. God will take you to places you have never been. You will meet people that God has placed on his divine calendar for you to meet. You will function in a place of freedom you did not know existed. Reach forth and stretch to go farther than you have ever gone. I believe as you forget those things which are behind, God will bring the thrust to advance you into the next level of faith, hope and love.