For the past few weeks, I have had a song in my head—one of the first “Christian” songs I used to jam out to as a child. The song that kept replaying was “Old Man’s Rubble,” sang by Amy Grant. It is a song older than me, a song that appeared on Amy’s first album. The chorus asks if you are living in an “old man’s rubble.” After a few weeks, I wondered why it was still stuck in my head.
When I was young, I used to sing the song with great passion, focusing on the lyrics about “listening to the father of lies.” I knew back then that he was and is the father of lies; however, today I can grasp things more clearly. Today I can easily understand that the song isn’t about the father of lies or the old man’s rubble, but rather, about the new creation that results from knowing the Father of light, about rejoicing in Him who is making all things new.
As we begin a new year, we need not focus on the old man’s rubble. Rubble is something that is left behind. It is defined as waste or wreckage. It is what is left behind after a collapse. Rubble remains. It is the ruins. It’s debris. We walk through the rubble to something better, something greater than that which we leave behind. The song says we will be “living in a mighty fortress” and we will be “clothed in power and might.” Embrace these lyrics. Trust that the old man you once were is rubble, and do not try to carry it with you into what God has for you next. Ready yourself.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 [ESV]
My daughter is always mixing drinks. She often takes different juices and mixes them together. One morning she asked me if orange juice would taste good with orange soda and I advised her to not try that mixture. I’ve had orange juice with Sprite, but the thought of this possible mixture did not sound like a good idea.
She didn’t give up on the idea. Not so long later I noticed a large container filled with her new creation. The problem was that she could not stand the new mixture. It tasted disgusting and so it was all a waste. We ended up pouring the contents of the large container down the drain. What a waste of some good orange juice!
God has given us His Spirit and His Word. Sometimes we have a tendency to try to mix it with other things. We think we need more—like it’s not enough. Or we try to add to the Word. There are also moments when we waste what God has given us by not even reading the Bible, praying, or seeking this gift of the Spirit that we’ve received. The problem is this isn’t just some orange juice.
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” – Proverbs 30:5-6 [ESV]
During the hot summer months, chocolate, gum, and lip balm do no fair too well. The heat does a good job to melt the items. Being a Hershey girl, I love chocolate. When you purchase chocolate at a store, by the time you carry it from the store to your car, the chocolate is already melting from the high temperatures. I always advise my kids to not open it, but instead to put it in the refrigerator so it can harden again. When the chocolate is eventually opened, it is interesting to see the new form of the chocolate.
Heat is often affiliated with changing the shapes of items so it’s no surprise to read about heat in the Bible. We read and the refiner’s fire and the furnace of affliction. We also read about taking a new form. When we accept Christ, we start to become a new creation.
There are times when we can feel the heat of the furnace of affliction. We are being pruned and built up. We are being challenged. We are being tested like gold. We find ourselves in these situations because we are called to be a holy people and little by little God gets us to where He created us to be as His child with a purpose. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV)
“I will bring that group through the fire and make them pure. I will refine them like silver and purify them like gold. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” – Zechariah 13:9 [NLT]
I love candles. Not only do they provide a calming atmosphere and a nice scent, but they also add some warmth to my home during this cold winter season. When I went to light up my one candle this morning, I realized that the wick was missing. I didn’t follow the instructions on the candle. The directions explained the need to trim the wick and the importance of only burning a candle for a few hours. I did not listen. I figured something as simple as a candle didn’t require instructions. Now my wick was missing. My candle was useless without the wick.
In life, we have God’s Word so easily accessible to us and yet there are so many times when we ignore His Word for whatever reason. We end up taking some bad turns, digging ourselves into a whole, making some mistakes. My candle wick was only missing. I took a screwdriver and I was able to locate the wick. If you have been ignoring God, do not think that you cannot humble yourself and come before Him now. No matter what mess you have made, what problems are weighing you down, what wrong turns you have taken in life, God can redeem you. He can cleanse you. He can make you a new creation. All you need to do is draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.
Right now, my candle is burning bright. Allow God to shine His light in your life—and see how much greater life can be when He is at the center.
“And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” – Colossians 1:20-22 [ESV]
I have a problem with clothing. It seems no matter how hard I try, I am always staining my shirts. As a result, I typically do not purchase clothing that is white. Who wants to have a shirt that so easily shows every mistake? Nonetheless, I wanted this one shirt and it only came in the color white.
It only took a few wears and the incident occurred. I was out in the rain and my red hooded sweatshirt bled into the collar of my white shirt. I did not even realize it was happening until it was too late. Now though I was not wanting to purchase a white shirt in the first place, I was now trying my hardest to make this shirt white again. I scrubbed it with bleach. I got out my stain removal stick. I used peroxide. I tried every trick I could think of and I even resorted to searching online for other options.
In the end, I could not repair the damage done to my shirt. The only thing I could do was to change the color of the shirt to adapt to this new color that was found on the collar. There was no other option for me, and so I made the change and my shirt is as good as new.
This incident reminded me of sin and how it invades our life, even at times when we don’t realize it. It reminded me of how only through Christ and His blood are we able to be clean. We can try every stain remover, but nothing will remove the damage of our sins but Christ who cleanses us so that we are as white as snow.
This episode also got me thinking about how we are so stubborn to change. There are times when God is moving us in one direction, but we dig our feet into the ground and stand firm in our position. We think we know best. As I worked so hard to have my shirt stay white (which I never wanted in the first place), the shirt ended up being pink. Perhaps pink is the better color.
It took so long for me to fight the color change. I thought I knew best. God knows best. God’s plan for my life and for your life is the best plan. We can avoid the white shirt because we don’t wish to go down that path, but He can make that the only option. We can try to work for our salvation or sidestep through each and every sin, but only Christ can cleanse us and bring us true salvation. We can fight every twist and turn, but in the end, if God wants the shirt to be pink, it’s going to be pink.
When we accept God and His grace into our lives, and when we stop fighting and reach out our hands and say, “Here I am,” it is then that we can achieve true peace. Today I rejoice that I have a pink shirt– a shirt made new– because I know that God is making me new.
“Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:24 [NASB]