Stepping into God's New in 2022

Are you ready for the new year? Are you ready for all the Lord is going to do in 2022?
There are lots of scriptures that prepare us spiritually, emotionally, and mentally for stepping into the future. Our tendency is to carry the past with us. When we talk about the past, there is ‘good past’ and ‘bad past’.

Good past is the spiritual inheritance we have received from God, his Word, and the church. This is the inheritance about which we are told ‘Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set’ (Deuteronomy 22.28). And so we work hard to be very unoriginal regarding doctrine; the Bible and the creeds and our Reformation fathers have given us an inheritance to be preserved.

In addition to doctrine, we have the testimony of scripture regarding how God works, and the testimony of our lives regarding how He has worked in our lives. These work together to affirm that God is God, God is good, and God is powerful to accomplish his will. And so our expectation about the future is rooted in who God is and how he has worked in history.

New Things

But in addition to the good bits of the past, there are also bad bits of the past. Our personal failures, disappointments, and life detours can try to creep into the present and derail our destiny. This is why the Lord tells us in Isaiah 43.18-29 to

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

The Lord is pointing to a very positive future – a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. That is, the Lord gives us direction and the Lord gives us provision. But what is the price we have to pay to get there? That’s the first part of the verse:

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

What is it that we have to let go of in order to step into the new? We have an example in the post-resurrection story of Peter and fishing.

Lessons from Peter

As described in John 20.1-15, Peter and the other apostles encountered the resurrected Jesus on two occasions. And perhaps they understood what this meant in terms of their personal destiny, but they did not understand what it meant for kingdom destiny.

To step into the future God had for him, Peter had to let go of the vocation he knew – catching fish. Catching fish is good – for fishermen. But the good can be the enemy of the best. The Lord had bigger plans for them than they realised. And so Jesus begins teaching them something the third time that he appears.

Let’s look at this:
 
  • I am going fishing is Peter’s default response. All of us are hard-wired to revert to what we know. Einstein said Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. To step into what God had for him, Peter had to let go of what he knew.
  • Resurrection life is insufficient to redirect our lives. In addition to being born again, we have to embrace a different way of thinking. Peter and the apostles already knew the resurrected Lord, but this was insufficient to accomplish Peter's resurrection.
  • Children, do you have any fish? Jesus is asking, Guys, how’s this working out for you? How’s this going back to the old ways working out for you? Of course, he knew the answer.
  • Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. Jesus gives the disciples a hint of what’s to come by inviting them to experience something new by doing something new. Casting on the other side represents a new thing. To step into the new things God has for us, we have to do new things.
  • So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.  The Lord has more for us than we realise. All it took on the part of the disciples is an act of obedience; all it took for the full boat is for God to do God-stuff.
  • When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. Abandoning ourselves to the Lord is the first step towards stepping into all that he has for them.
  • So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Not only were Peter and the disciples given a big catch, but the catch was able to be preserved. This was a ‘new thing’, because the last time Peter and the disciples were given a big catch by Jesus they could not contain it.
  • Feed my lambs. Jesus invites Peter into an outward-direction, other-orientated life. This is where Peter begins to understand that the resurrection ‘new life’ Jesus purchased for him wasn’t simply about personal wholeness but serving others. The manifestation of Jesus’ resurrection life in Peter was a life devoted to feeding His lambs.

Application for 2022

Based on past experiences in life and with God, all of us enter 2022 with baseline expectations. Like Peter, it is easy for us to revert to what we know – the familiar, the expected, the routine.

But consider the possibility that the Lord has new direction and provision for you in the new year. And consider the possibility that the new thing God has for you is rooted in a life devoted to serving, feeding, and ministering to others. If we only do what is familiar, we’ll only get the same results we have before. But there may be ‘another side of the boat’ to which Jesus is calling us to move.

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