Ephesians 4:23-24 “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
When I was a kid we would play football on the asphalt at the school yard, we wouldn’t tackle each other but played touch instead. The grass was usually too wet and muddy and so the games were all pressed together on a giant playground. More than once as I ran out for a pass I would slip on the loose rocks and slam my knees onto the ground…it was very painful. When I stood up, the pants I was wearing typically had a large hole in the knee and blood was trickling down my leg.
When I got home my mother would scold me for ruining my pants once again and proceed to iron a new set of patches on the knees. I really didn’t mind the patches, they were much tougher than the pant material and I could fall without losing skin.
Those were carefree days on those playgrounds at Green Acres elementary, my appearance just wasn’t a huge concern and since my family couldn’t afford to keep buying new clothes, we just had to make do.
When we come to Christ, we come with holes in our jeans, maybe a little bloody or bruised and the appearance we present is clearly one that shows the wear and tear of this world.
But Jesus doesn’t just patch us up….He completely makes us new.
Colossians 3:8-10 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
The regeneration that happens at the moment of salvation is the beginning of a complete transformation of who you were into who you are now in Christ.
The Lord doesn’t just patch up our defects and place bandaids on our wounds, He completely transforms us into His image and heals our past.
*Our responsibility for growth is to learn to trust Him. The initial promise of God’s hope is given by way of the Holy Spirit while the sanctifying work of God’s Spirit in us, makes us and molds us as we trust in Him.
The more we become like Christ, the more He purifies us from our past.
Submission to God’s holy work is not as easy as it sounds. We have developed patterns of how we respond to given situations and those patterns have to conform into the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit will lead you in these patterns but accepting the reality that you were wrong is a tough proposition. Pride is at the forefront of our stubbornness to submit and yet if we don’t, we will not ever grow.
Romans 6:19 “I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”
The natural affinity is to hold on to the old habits, natural tendencies, and old way of thinking that allowed the holes and tears to become our identity. As my mother refused to let me go to school with torn up jeans, (because she felt like my appearance reflected on her as a mother), so the Lord will not allow us to continue looking and acting like we always did before we became identified with Him.
A New Creation
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
In Christ, you now have true hope.
The old nature is now gone, the new nature of Christ is in you. We have to stop looking at ourselves as we used to be or how the world still tries to define us now.
As a new creation, you have new responsibilities, you have a different creed that you live by, you have a new name, a new hope, and a new future that lies in wait. You were once lead by the flesh, now you take your marching orders from the Spirit of God. The Lord purchased you not because you brought value to His Kingdom, but because you have inherent value in that you were created by Him.
You do bring value into His Kingdom but that is a result of becoming more Christ-like and less worldly-like. The accuser of the brethren wants to make you think that you have never changed, that your still just as guilty as before and that you are still hopeless.
Stop listening to the enemy!
Psalm 139:14 “I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well.”
What path have you taken up until now?
From where have you come?
Think about all that the Lord has brought you through, all of the times He has healed your wounds, every moment He has received you into His arms by His grace…..
He does not grow Weary
Isaiah 40:28 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.”
We may never comprehend the magnitude of God’s love…at least in the state we exist in today, our human understanding lacks the ability to see that far. I question whether we will even fully comprehend the magnitude of God’s power in Heaven. Maybe we will have a better understanding in a few million years, dwelling in His presence. We know that Angels are still intrigued by the things they see God doing among us today.
1 Peter 1:12 “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, when they foretold the things now announced by those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
Your life is hidden in Christ, so let the perfect qualities of Jesus manifest in you that others might see and glorify the King who is worthy. We might be battered and bruised by this world but the scars are reminders from where we came. Jesus presented the scars of His crucifixion as a reminder to the disciples that He is the same one they knew before. Our scars serve as reminders of the magnitude of God’s goodness.
One day, when you are presented before the Father, the holes and patches will be gone, you will be presented in perfection. The perfection you are endowed with is the one that Jesus earned—He has given His life for you.