Wednesday, January 10, 2018

No hand-me-downs here

When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 TLB)
Some of us need to hear that message time and time again to realize we are "not the same anymore". Too many times we tell ourselves a completely different story, such as "I will never change" or "No one will ever see me any differently". The truth is that you have changed and God sees you totally differently - for he sees you through the eyes of GRACE. Grace indicates a new beginning - we have become a brand new person - maybe not on the outside, but definitely on the inside!
Notice it doesn't say we get a "thrift store" kind of fix up. It isn't that we get the rejects of others to "make us new". We get the best of Christ - the new "garments of righteousness" to replace the very best of "hand me down rags" anyone else could ever offer us. We are often thinking we just get a few "patches" added to our mess of a life, but the truth is that from the inside out we get "brand new". It is about time we start to think of ourselves as "brand new"!
Take note - the new beginning is part of us saying "yes" to Jesus. It isn't found any other way. As best as we might try in some mystical religious pursuit, way of the shaman, or alignment of our lives through some chakra, we just aren't going to get "brand new" in any of these efforts! Brand new is only available through the grace of Christ - period! There may be a lot of "world religions" out there, but there is only ONE Christ and there is only ONE way to grace - through him!
We also need to take note that it is a "beginning" we find in Christ. The end might be foretold in that moment of our "saying yes" to him, but we begin what becomes a lifestyle of "grace change" - making us brand new in every aspect of our thinking, behaving, and even in our "looking". We develop into our righteousness from the inside out. As we say yes to Jesus over and over again - by taking faithful steps of obedience - we find we are changed more and more - casting aside all our rags of self-righteousness. 
Our heart is that of a prodigal - having done our own thing for so long we see no real hope for any real change. Our hope isn't found in cleaning up the outside - it is realized when we understand Jesus has begun that change from the inside! Instead of donning that "old us" today, we don a new life and freedom in Christ. Instead of telling ourselves that same old, sad story of "nothing will ever change", it is time for us to embrace the new story being written on our hearts made new by the grace of Christ! Just sayin!