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April 18, 2014- 3:53am
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A new year can mean a new start, and that can be a great thing — if God is directing it. We make a new start in life spiritually when we give our hearts to Jesus Christ, are saved by His shed blood, and are adopted into the family of God. Paul told the Corinthians, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) The word “new” appears 150 times in the Bible. God is a God of “new” things.

However, He also wants us to progress past that new start and go on to maturity. In fact, His design for the Church (the Body of Christ) is structured that way. “Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” (Eph. 4:11-13 CEV)

Sometimes people (even pastors) will leave one church and go to another, because they feel they need a new start. If they have prayed seriously about the matter, and are convinced that God is directing such a move, good things will result. The problem comes in when a person leaves a church because something has happened that he doesn’t like. Then he is more than likely relying on his own fleshly desires. Paul warns, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3) To leave a church under such conditions is the height of immaturity. We will never reach any state of maturity in any relationship (church, marriage, job) if we keep starting over. Some have made “church hopping” a career, because they haven’t found a place where they are comfortable, or a place where they feel they are being fed. Don’t they realize that every time they leave, they are taking the problem with them? The problem is in their heart, not in the church! If you sense God is finished with you in one place, seek Him diligently as to what direction to take. Don’t let it be a decision of the flesh (feelings). God wants us to be fed spiritually, but to attend a particular church solely on that basis is a mistake. Seek God earnestly as to where He wants you in every relationship of life. He may want to use you to be a blessing as well as to receive a blessing. That’s maturity!

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