A Love that Makes Us New
When I was a teenager, I used to think of ways to reinvent myself. It was especially something I thought of over summer break. I’d get a new haircut. I’d wear some different clothes or shoes than I normally would. I might even convince myself to do things I normally wouldn’t. Most things didn’t stick because they just weren’t me and it was easier to just be myself than try to be someone else.
Looking back, I realize it’s only necessary to reinvent yourself if you don’t really like the person you are already. Right?
So, I was doing some reading in Colossians 3 the other night and I came across the passage about putting on a new self. It made me think of something. God wants us to “reinvent” ourselves when we become Christians. As Paul states it, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). He goes on to tell us to put to death earthly sins. To put them to death!
That means the things we used to do—any sin we used to commit should be done and over. Yes, we’ll still slip up. But there should definitely be some big changes made in our lives once we become Christians. In order for that to happen, in order for us to want to become new, we have to dislike what we were before, just like I thought I needed a new hairdo or new clothes. If we don’t dislike the sin, we can never be a new creature and that’s where God does the work. If we ask Him to, He will change the desires of our hearts and absolutely free us from our old ways (Psalm 37:4-5).
So, let me ask you: Are you any different than the atheist down the street? How does your Netflix account compare to theirs? What do you do in your spare time? If the only difference between you and them is the one hour you spend at church (or watching church online) each week, are you truly dead to this world? Are you truly seeking the Lord?
(If I stepped on your toes, good! And I’m not sorry. The “Jesus and sweet tea” culture in this nation has gone on long enough. To dare compare how much you love Jesus to sweet tea is absolutely ridiculous! Anyway, I digress.)
None of us are perfect, of course. I’m just saying we all need to take an honest look at our relationships with the Lord. If we profess to be Christians, there should be some “fruit” as evidence of that decision and relationship.
Think about it this way. If I only spoke to my husband once every week and never spent time getting to know him, we would not have a very good relationship and there would be a lot of communication errors in our family. In fact, we would probably not know each other very well and be mad all the time. God wants us to spend time with Him so we can get to know Him, so He can guide our steps, so we can feel unconditional love, so we can experience his faithfulness.
Spending time with God will allow you to learn more about what He wants for you and who He is. Many people say: “No one knows the will of God” or “The ways of the Lord are mysterious.” But this isn’t true at all! It’s just a cop out. If you read the Word, you will know what God wants and you will know His ways. (Did you know that only 11% of Christians have read the entire Bible once and 9% have read the Bible all the way through more than once? Even more scary, 10% have never read any of it and 13% have only read a few sentences. Source) There are so many things God has revealed to me through a simple reading of the Word and then discussing it with my husband later. Truly amazing things that made Jesus really real to me. Is Jesus and your relationship with Him really real to you?
I’m not talking about learning the ABCs of Christianity at VBS when you were 10 and never learning another thing about this Savior (aka “fire insurance”). We have to have more than that.
In my opinion, one of the main failures of the American church is how sleepy and lukewarm it has become. Instead of teaching the truth, we water it down so no one’s feelings get hurt. We have “Christians” who are living in open sin still claiming they are Christians. (I’m sorry, folks, but what is a sin is pretty clear and outlined in the Bible. See the books of Exodus and Leviticus if you don’t believe me.) We have people making political statements and never even cracking a Bible preaching from the pulpit. We have churchgoers who walk around filled with anxiety or even hiding in their homes from the world. No wonder the world doesn’t want to be saved! What would entice anyone to want to be like us?
We have to live in a way that makes others want what we have—and I don’t mean the nice house, car, or money or otherwise. I’m not preaching prosperity, although the Lord does bless those who follow Him (Psalm 5:12 and others). What I do mean is they should want the joy, the peace, the love. There are so many benefits to being a Christian, but if we don’t know them ourselves, how can we convince others to become a Christian? If we don’t know the promises the Lord has given us, how can we share those with others?
The first thing we must do to get back on track is to stop wasting time on Facebook and binging shows on Netflix. The second thing we must do is to reflect on our lives and truly examine where we are in our relationship with God. If it’s not where it should be, it’s time to fix that and put on our new selves. To die to our old ways and to live in Christ. And I mean now! We’re running out of time, friends!
Stop debating with other Christians about things that don’t matter. Stop dragging your feet and tell those loved ones about Jesus. Set your minds on things from above. God wants us to be heavenly minded, not earthly minded. I’d like to build a new house, but if I don’t get to do that, is that going to affect my relationship with God? It shouldn’t.
I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating myself and relationship with the Lord lately and I want to tell you that I do not fear what is to come. And I can promise you what is to come should scare anyone (just look what 2020 has had in store for us so far). However, I’m not afraid because my Lord and Savior is coming back soon to get me! That news is so good that I can’t not share it! Your new self should feel that same way. It’s easy to get bogged down, lackadaisical, and almost immune to feeling in the world right now. That’s exactly how the devil wants the church to be. That makes his job easy. If we don’t know the Word and aren’t seeking Him, that makes the enemy’s job easy.
Die to your old self. Live anew in Christ. You won't regret it.