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									Devotion: “New”
By Chris Koch
        A few years ago, Arby’s had a tagline on their ads that said, “Different is good.” Arby’s
was comparing themselves to other fast food restaurants where you just get a cheeseburger, fries,
and a soft drink every visit. Arby’s shows how they don’t have cheeseburgers, but they have
roast beef sandwiches. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love their roast beef sandwiches. The irony
though is their main tagline claims they were different because you could get a roast beef
sandwich, fries, and a soft drink. It may be good, but honestly not that different. Even the roast
beef sandwich is beef inside a bun. You can even get cheese on it!
        Having attended many churches in my lifetime, I see that 99% of churches have
something in common: Most church-goers are okay with a little bit of change every once in a
while. As ridiculous as it seems, one of the most common reasons a church splits is over the
color of the carpet.
        I’m not writing to talk about changes in the church, but rather changes in the Church
(with a capital “C”). That means you and me. Many of us go to church expecting to hear good
music, sing along, see our friends, hear a nice sermon, and enjoy a beautiful service, but what
really makes a service beautiful?
        When God looks at a worship service (whether it’s the main service or The Way), He
doesn’t look to see how pretty the music is. He looks to see if you’re singing to Him. He doesn’t
look at whether or not you take Communion. He looks at whether or not you remember Him. He
doesn’t look at how many friends you talk to. He looks at what kind of sacrificial love you show
them. He doesn’t look at your attentiveness during the sermon. He looks at what you are
changing about yourself as a result.
        It’s time for the New Year. It’s time for the new you. We’re not comfortable with change.
Sometimes small changes we make about ourselves seem like major adjustments. Changing one
aspect of you for the better may be a huge thing to you (and I congratulate you on that change),
but God wants something bigger. He wants a completely new you. He doesn’t just want to make
the beef in the bun a different texture, but He wants an entirely different meal. (This doesn’t
mean He doesn’t love you for who you are; He just refuses to leave you that way.)
        If you are a Christian, what will you do to make yourself new? “Therefore, if anyone is in
Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (-Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:17
NIV). It is a very basic principle of Christianity that you must change. “You should not be
surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (-Jesus in John 3:7 NIV). Religious practices
and traditions are good, but don’t put them above revolutionizing yourself for God. “Neither
circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.” (-Paul in
Galatians 6:15 NIV).
        Be new, but don’t make it your New Years resolution. (Those are rarely followed
through.) Just do it. Be ready to change yourself. Don’t just go from McDonald’s to Arby’s, but
go from a church-goer to a revolutionary.

								
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