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The New Life

The New Life

This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Exodus 12:2

Years ago, in my first real attempt at recovery, I attended outpatient treatment at New Beginnings. I liked the name as I felt I was starting out on a new journey. I’d put the destruction of addiction behind me, and I was ready for the new life. Soon, I adopted a flippant attitude about relapse. I simply knew I was never going back to active addiction. It just wasn’t possible. I told my counselor as much and he chuckled. Relapse is always an option. I was annoyed because I was utterly confident that I’d never go back.

In my overconfidence, I knew that I didn’t need to put any effort into recovery. I had the new life. In fact, I came to believe that I could use opioids occasionally, because I was healed from addiction. Relapse isn’t possible. Of course, I soon relapsed and went right back to the old life. Through that experience, I learned that God does indeed offer me new life, but it is up to me to live in it. He opens my prison door, but I must follow him out and stay out. If I insist, I can turn around and walk back into the prison of my old life.

God offers new beginnings and a new life. This was his message in today’s passage. In the story, the Israelites had been enslaved for 400 years in Egypt. Now, through the 10th plague, God was about to set them free. This will be your new beginning, the start of your new life (my paraphrase). God orchestrated their freedom, and the Israelites were about to take their first steps into the new life. God expected their obedience though. As we’ll see, to be spared from the 10th plague, they had to do exactly as God instructed. God had a plan for the new life, but the Hebrews had to cooperate. They couldn’t sit back, do nothing, and hope to be magically transported to the promise land. Getting there required radical obedience and, as we’ll see, the Israelites stumbled frequently, even asking to return to Egyptian slavery at one point.

God offers new beginnings and a new life. It is, however, up to us to follow him into that new life. He opens our prison door, setting us free. We can, however, remain in prison. Or, once free, we may choose to return. If we want the new life, we must daily do whatever it takes to abandon the old life and follow God. He continually offers a new life. It’s now up to us to live in it.

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