Taking New Ground

At a critical juncture early in my life, when I was trying to make sense of a jumbled situation, a wise Godly man said, “Sometimes you just have to take new ground.”

One of our biggest challenges can arise in the tension between perseverance and taking new ground. We don’t want to give up if God is calling us to persevere, but we also don’t want to hang back in fear if God is calling us to move forward to a new place. It takes hearing from God and watching for Him to confirm it. But for me, taking new ground came in a literal and spiritual sense. For me, it had involved a geographical move, but it also involved a move in perspective—allowing God to change the way I thought. And that didn’t happen in one swoop. No one waved a wand and made it happen.

It was as if my brain had to be reprogrammed and that came from daily focusing on God’s word and allowing him to change me from the inside out.

But that was only one time when I had to take new ground. Often and especially at the beginning of every year, I still need to ask God, “Where do I need to persevere, and where do I need to take new ground?” This continues to be one of the most difficult challenges I face. I like my ruts, my comfort, and my routine. But God is all about pushing us out of those zones into areas that we can only face with Him.

In an extreme example of taking new ground, I recently read this in a Springs in the Valley devotion, “After a long trying march over perilous Antarctic mountains and glaciers, a South Pole explorer said to his leader, 'I had a curious feeling on the march that there was another Person with us!'”

If we have given our lives to Jesus, we can be sure that there will be another Person with us on any trek. This recalls the words God spoke to Joshua before he faced taking his own new ground in the promised land, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua (1:9). Just as God was with Joshua, He will be with us. We will never be alone.

Many of you read Oswald Chambers, so you may remember a quote from the end of December, which always rings in my mind this time of year. I leave you with it, “Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”