| Made New |

Spring is right around the corner. Literally, this Monday is the first day of Spring. It’s hard to believe it was thirty degrees the other morning and now it’s back up to sunny with highs in the seventies.

Spring means blooming flowers, breezy days, sunshine, and smiles. Spring is when all things are made new; when the plants that died over winter are reborn, everything starts shedding its skin to reveal something beautiful. This reminds me of being made new in Christ and I’ve continually been reminded over this process during the last few weeks.

Several years ago in the midst of addiction, I was ugly. Pure and simple. I was mean, I hustled, I lied, I gossiped, among many other horrible things. I hate that person. That person hated God, even though God “wasn’t” real.  

The year I got clean I was sitting in jail worried over a situation that could cause me a lot of trouble even though I was innocent. I bargained with God… I asked Him to let me out of that situation and I would be His. I’ve heard so many similar stories- people so hungry for an intimate relationship with a good Father, yet believe that this Father is too good to be true, or believe they are undeserving or unworthy.

When I was rescued that night, I was ready to go. I knew God was real, beyond a shadow of a doubt, after watching the situation play out. I’ve kind of talked about becoming a Christian and the process of sanctification. It’s amazing to see God change me from the inside out over the course of almost three-and-a half years.  

This passage describes what I am trying to say so perfectly!

2 Corinthians 5:16-20

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that | ANYONE united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new|. The old life is GONE; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: [Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.]

Obviously I will forever be transforming and growing through my relationship with Christ, but it is so encouraging to see my personal miraculous changes over the years so far. This is why Spring is such a special time for me. It is when I became a Christian and embarked on this journey of being made new with God.

I have learned to be humble. I have learned to be assertive. I have learned to pray boldly on my knees, asking God for what I need and thanking Him for all He has done. I have learned it’s ok to admit my mistakes and ask for help. I have gone through many ups and downs and know that nothing can snatch me from my Lord. When someone asks Jesus to literally take their life and use it for His glory, that person better be ready.  

This life is exciting and sad and happy and joyous; a constant adventure and I wouldn’t change a thing. But it is definitely not for the faint of heart. Following God means dying to myself, which means change. Humans are creatures of habit so this is going to mean that life may become super difficult and painful. But the refining experience and deepest, grace-filled relationship imaginable is oh so worth it. This life has nothing for me. But Jesus? He has everything

He makes beautiful things. He turned my ugly into something amazing to be used for His glory and purpose. He didn’t need to, but He did anyway. He made me into a completely new person; I actually have self-esteem now through my relationship with Him, I no longer have to hide or numb myself because I can’t stand what I have done. I am forgiven. I am free. I am made new. You can be too- it is never too late and you are never too ugly.  

Romans 3:21-24

 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And {not only for us, but for EVERYONE who believes in him}. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. |Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself|. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. 

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