In Search of the New


In your search for new insights, remember this vital imperative: apply the ones you already know. The messages you live are the only ones that count.

I have an insatiable desire for fresh spiritual insights. That’s a bit of a problem in a world of so many words. It makes it really tough sometimes to find a book, article, or sermon that really interests me. And working in the Christian publishing industry fuels the “I’ve heard it all before” syndrome. Sometimes I think I really might have heard it all before.

I think a lot of people feel the same way. I see them jump on anything that appears fresh. And while some spiritual trends are genuine moves of God, some can be as fickle as fashion. We end up jumping from author to author, speaker to speaker, conference to conference. All in search of the new.

Of course, the question isn’t whether you’ve heard something before. It’s whether you’ve done it already. Have you applied that truth? Implemented it? Let it become part of you? If not, what you need isn’t some magical new insight. It’s some practical, intentional doing.

I know that’s not a very exciting message. But that’s the only way to grow.

Even though I know this hunger for the new is one of my tendencies, I’ve sometimes gotten a taste of it when people have reviewed my books. “Nothing really new here,” a couple of people have said about one of them, Unburdened, which deals with the worries and stresses people unnecessarily live with.

My knee-jerk emotional reaction (yes, writers can have thin skin) was to think, “Maybe you’ve heard it before, but are you living it? Because 98 percent of people aren’t.” I defended my message’s relevance even while realizing I dismiss other messages in exactly the same way.


So here’s the bottom line. When figuring out if a message is relevant to you, having heard it or read it before isn’t the issue. The issue is whether you’ve applied it. James had some pretty harsh words about that, saying those who hear without doing are deceiving themselves (James 2:22). Hearing is not the same as believing or doing.

I’m afraid I’ve mixed those up at times, and so have most people I know. I’ve read a bazillion Christian books, and if I fully lived up to all of them, I’d be a spiritual superhero. Clearly, I’m not.

So am I saying not to go after new insights? Of course not. That would be wrong and . . . well, so un-me. But in your search for new insights, remember this absolutely vital imperative: apply the ones you already know. The messages you live are the only ones that count.



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